PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA (AP) — Scottie Scheffler used to wear long pants as a junior golfer since that’s what the pros wore. He looked intended to wander inside the fairways from an early age.
“I remember when I was a youngster at Royal Oaks, I used to wear long pants to practice when I was 7 or 8 years old, and everyone made fun of me,” he added. “I wore pants since that’s what the pros did.”
Scheffler rose to No. 5 in the Official World Golf Ranking after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday, his second Tour victory in his previous three starts. Since the ranking began in 1986, the top five players in the world — No. 1 Jon Rahm (27), Collin Morikawa (25), Viktor Hovland (24), Patrick Cantlay (29) and Scheffler (25) – have all been under the age of 30.
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan remarked, “I think it’s just a reflection on the system at work.” “I mean, these young players are coming from all over the world at a young age, having success on the Korn Ferry Tour and the PGA Tour at a young age, and that depth of talent, you talk about the top 5, you talk about the top 30 and top 50, the athleticism, the youth, the preparedness, the system is working, and it’s arguably the most exciting time in the history of the PGA Tour for that reason.”
With Scottie Scheffler moving inside the top 5 in OWGR, this is the first time in OWGR history that each of the top 5 players in the world are under 30 years old.
— Phil Allen (@PhilAllenTFG) March 6, 2022
Today’s golfers are brave when they get onto the PGA Tour. “Generation Next” is notorious for being obscenely long, lacking the deer-in-the-headlights appearance and scar tissue from Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
“I believe the players are better prepared,” Scheffler remarked.
He attributed some of his confidence to having played collegiate golf against players like Morikawa and Hovland and holding his own. This Scheffler youngster, champion of the US Junior Amateur before matriculating to Texas, is a diaper dandy, baby, as ESPN’s Dick Vitale would describe it.
“I think college golf is a lot different now than it used to be, especially if you went to one of the bigger colleges.” “I believe our college calendar really prepared us to be able to come out here and play excellent golf just because we’re playing similar golf courses in similar conditions,” Scheffler remarked.
All of these young stars have been racing against one another since they were juniors, and they now have better equipment, technologies like TrackMan, training regimes, and coaching.
“We have that belief now as well,” Scheffler added. “I believe Jordan changed a lot of that for me when he came out here and won at the age of 19, and it was one of those deals where I had a personal connection with him.” As a result, he inspired a lot of people from Texas, including myself and Will, to believe that we could come out here and play well at such a young age. You don’t have to wait until you’re 25 or 30 to start gaining experience. You can come out here and perform admirably.”
That sentiment was mirrored by Morikawa.
“We really honestly believed in ourselves, and that’s the number one thing: you have to trust yourself that you can do it,” Morikawa said. “Not just make it to the PGA Tour, not just make it to the top 100, top 50 in the world, but to be No. 1.” “I believe that only goes to show how excellent the young guys are getting, how terrific this young group is.”
This week, Scheffler, Morikawa, Cantlay, and Hovland have a chance to unseat Spain’s Jon Rahm as World No. 1. Scheffler, for one, was completely unaware. Neither did Rahm, who stated that he will not simply hand over the title.
“You have to perform every week, even if you’re No. 1,” he remarked. “I’m chasing people myself, so I don’t feel as though I’m being pursued.”
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