Even in his first two years in the PGA Tour, the writing was on the wall for the current world number one, Scottie Scheffler – he shot at 59 (at the Northern Trust in New Jersey) a 12-birdie, and then bagged the Rookie of the Year award in 2020.
Fast forward to 2022, and he’s just cemented his utter dominance by winning at The US Masters at Augusta, bringing his tally to four PGA Tour wins. It would be an impressive record for any golfer, but Scheffler is just 25 years old!
There’s no doubt that to perform at the highest level your driving distance needs to be up there, and Scheffler does hit the gym to ensure he has the power, but when it comes to physical and mental performance he believes in the value of staying patient and trusting your game..
The simple things work best for me – overcomplicating things will only end in relative chaos and the easy way is usually the best
RSNG How have you developed your driving distance in the gym and on the course, and have you got further to go with that process?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER, WORLD NUMBER ONE GOLFER “I wouldn’t say that I have anything special that I do – it’s pretty much the same thing every day. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the gym or beforehand, because if you don’t do your stretches, your warm-ups and your regular routines, you won’t hit that shot the way you want to.
“I just make sure that I get onto the course in one piece and I don’t like to do anything too complicated. I mean, I don’t do any meditation or anything like that, haha! That’s not for me, personally.
“The simple things work best for me. Overcomplicating things will only end in relative chaos and the easy way is usually the best. At least, that’s what I’ve found.
“A round of golf is ultimately put together in your mind. The gym will only take you that far – even your clubs will only take you that far. You’ve got to have your head right.”
There are so many great players in these events every week and only one guy can get the win, so it’s never good to be too harsh on yourself.
RSNG Who were your favorite golfers growing up and which of your competitors do you admire?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER “Obviously Tiger was in the ascendancy when I was first getting into the game – that was an incredible era for him where no-one could really get close to him.
“Others like Phil Mickelson have been there, always keeping relevant and evolving. They are the golfers I admire most – those who roll with the punches and keep reinventing. The game moves on very quickly and it will leave you behind if you’re not prepared for the change.
“As for current golfers, it’s no secret I’m a fan of the way Bryson DeChambeau plays, but I’m going to focus on myself mostly.”
RSNG How much work do you do on the mental aspects of your game?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER “I think it’s more a case of me using the fact that I really, really do not like to lose and that’s my key motivation… You can’t afford to let losses affect you – there are so many great players in these events every week and only one guy can get the win, so it’s never good to be too harsh on yourself.”
RSNG Just looking back a bit, people really started to sit up and take notice when you shot that 59 – how did it feel?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER “The closer we got to the 18th the more the reality of it became possible, and obviously the relief was huge when it went in.
“For me, it was all about momentum, which is why the scoring was so consistent. There weren’t too many tough putts – maybe a couple on 16 and 17 – but aside from that it all fell into my lap.
“What you don’t want when you’re in the game is for the ball to be chasing around all over the place and you’re recovering or repairing shots. I held it together and it was a real thrill.
RSNG What’s the best piece of golfing advice you’ve ever been given?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER “Don’t focus too much of your attention on one just one thing. So, play as many different sports as you like and are good at. Just playing golf can narrow your ability and your hunger for the game.
“I’ve seen so many young players who are great golfers but who have just concentrated on golf. They either become bored, tired or just totally burnt out at a very young age. You should always keep doing lots of different things.
“Practice as much as you can and always try to better your game, but take a break and play other sports. That’s helped me so much.
RSNG What advice would you give to younger golfers looking to up their game?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER “I would say one of the best things that’s helped me in my career is not trying to force things when I’m out on the course. Unless I have to go for it on the last few holes of a tournament when I’m still in contention for the win – or I’m trying to hit a 59! – I don’t like to go all out.
“Staying patient is definitely one of the things that has helped me, personally, and I think if a young player wants to improve their game or get to the next level, trusting your game and having go-to shots is the way to be.
“If you force things, that’s when mistakes happen, and nobody got great without the hard work that practice and hitting a bunch of range balls brings. But even with a whole load of great shots in your armoury, forcing it when it comes to the crunch can help to lessen your effect in competition. Stay patient and trust your game.”