Scottie Scheffler: The new father and man of faith with the golfing world at his feet

Scottie Scheffler: The new father and man of faith with the golfing world at his feet


Scottie Scheffler is a man well-accustomed to making global headlines, but almost never for events beyond the confines of the golf course.

The extraordinary scenes that saw the world No.1 arrested outside Kentucky’s Valhalla Golf Club were rendered even more remarkable given his background.

This is a golfer, a new father, who has been dominating his sport in unassuming fashion.

A devout Christian, he once said he played the sport because he was “trying to glorify God.” The 27-year-old is the favorite to win the PGA Championship this weekend and arguably not since Tiger Woods in his prime has a player been so superior on the course.

‘My identity isn’t a golf score’

Born in Ridgewood, New Jersey, but a Dallas native since the age of 6, Scheffler burst onto the golf scene by winning a flurry of junior titles. In 2014, at 17, as an amateur he made a hole-in-one and the cut on his first PGA Tour start.

After turning professional four years later, Scheffler was crowned the PGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year in 2020 and made a triumphant Ryder Cup debut the following season.

Without a PGA Tour victory heading into 2022, by April of that year he was a four-time victor, the world No. 1 and – thanks to a dominant display at The Masters – a major champion.

Scheffler coasted to victory at Augusta National that year, a marked contrast to his stress before the final round. “Overwhelmed,” the University of Texas alumni had “cried like a baby” that morning, he later admitted.

It was a conversation with wife, Meredith, that helped steady the golfer, he said. The high-school sweethearts had married in 2020, and Scheffler paid tribute to her and his Christian faith after easing into his first green jacket.

“The reason why I play golf is I’m trying to glorify God and all that He’s done in my life.
So for me, my identity isn’t a golf score,” Scheffler, who met his current caddie Ted Scott in Bible study, told reporters.

“All I’m trying to do is glorify God and that’s why I’m here … it’s not about a golf score.”

Scottie Scheffler kisses his wife Meredith Scudder after winning the 86th Masters golf tournament on Sunday, April 10, 2022, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

‘I feel like I live two separate lives’

Scheffler’s efforts at Augusta helped him to be subsequently crowned the PGA Tour Player of the Year in 2022, a title he defended after a stellar 2023 campaign that saw him tally another two wins.

That included a win at The Players Championship, often dubbed “the fifth major,” in which Scheffler’s 88-year-old grandmother Mary followed him on the course for all 72 holes, achieving internet fame in the process.

“Grandma and I are not big on social media, so we actually only found out the other day that she went viral, whatever that must mean,” Scheffler told CNN Sport’s Don Riddell earlier this year.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA - MARCH 12: A general view is seen as Scottie Scheffler of the United States plays his shot from the 18th tee during the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on March 12, 2023 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

In his winner’s news conference, Scheffler had outlined his celebratory plans to head to his grandmother’s nearby home for dessert. It reinforced the world No. 1’s image as the self-effacing star of the PGA Tour, a perception he is content to endorse.

Scheffler’s prolific early career has rocketed him to eighth on the all-time list of career earnings on the PGA Tour, not even halfway through his fifth year on the circuit.

Yet despite his $61 million in winnings, as recently as 2022 he still drove the same Chevrolet Suburban that his father bought for him when he was in college, clocking some 175,000 miles in the car.

Asked by Riddell about his flashiest purchase, Scheffler settled on his home in Dallas.

“I wouldn’t really describe my house as extravagant, but that’s definitely our most expensive purchase,” he said.

“I feel like I live two separate lives. I have my life when I’m out here on the road and you’re playing golf in front of people and I’ve got to do interviews and stuff like that. But then when I go home and I go about my life, golf’s not really that crazy of a popular sport. It’s not like I’m quarterback for the [Dallas] Cowboys or anything like that.

“So living life around home is pretty easy for us. Not much has really changed on the home front. But out here, yeah, things have changed a significant amount.”

It was a somewhat bittersweet 2023 season, however, as Scheffler narrowly missed out on adding to his major haul before suffering a painful defeat with Team USA at the Ryder Cup, including a match loss so catastrophic in proportion that it left Scheffler in tears.

Scottie Scheffler of Team United States is consoled by his Wife, Meredith Scheffler after losing his match to Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg of Team Europe (not pictured) 9&7 during the Saturday morning foursomes matches of the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf Club on September 30, 2023 in Rome, Italy.

‘Family always comes first’

Yet those scenes in Rome seemed a lifetime away after Scheffler’s start to 2024.

He has won four times in his last five starts, including a commanding victory at The Arnold Palmer Invitational and a historic first-ever defense of The Players a week later.

Yet the pick of the bunch was a second Masters triumph last month. Scheffler had vowed to leave the tournament if Meredith went into labor but did not receive the call, leaving him a clear run at another green jacket.

“My buddies told me this morning, my victory was secure on the cross,” he said after winning. “I believe that today’s plans were already laid out many years ago, and I could do nothing to mess up those plans. I have been given a gift of this talent, and I use it for God’s glory. That’s pretty much it.”

Scottie Scheffler celebrates his second Masters crown.

The couple welcomed their first child, Bennett, last week, but not before Scheffler lifted one more trophy, at the RBC Heritage. His 10th PGA Tour title, it made him the first golfer since Woods in 2006 to win a PGA Tour event the week after triumphing at a major.

To put his supremacy into context, the world ranking points gap between Scheffler (629.6) and his closest chaser Rory McIlroy (344.4) following that victory was wider than that between the Northern Irishman and world No. 784, Woods (4.64), who had then-made just five competitive appearances since the start of 2023.

Despite his recent transition into fatherhood, Scheffler shrugged off any concerns of a lack of preparation ahead of his pursuit of a second consecutive major at this week’s PGA Championship, having relished his time away from the fairways.

“Sitting at home with the girl I dated in high school with our child and then the green jacket sitting in the closet is a pretty insane feeling, and I just wanted to be as thankful as possible,” he said ahead of the tournament.

A level of disruption was always on the cards at Valhalla, with caddie, Scott, scheduled to leave Louisville to attend his daughter’s high school graduation during Saturday’s third round.

And as the overwhelming tournament favorite, few would be surprised to see Scheffler at the center of attention in Valhalla. Nobody though, could have foreseen the developments that put him there.


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