SI:AM | Scottie Scheffler Makes It Look Easy

He cruised to victory on the back nine while his competition faltered at the famed Amen Corner.
Masters champion Scottie Scheffler receives his trophy.
Masters champion Scottie Scheffler receives his trophy. / Rob Schumacher, Rob Schumacher / USA

Good morning, I’m Dan Gartland. This is SI:AM. It’s usually SI’s flagship daily newsletter, bringing you everything you need to know in the world of sports every weekday morning. We’re still working to get our newsletters up and running again under SI’s new operator, so in the meantime, I’ll still be writing SI:AM and posting it directly to SI.com. Stay tuned for info on how you can receive it directly in your inbox.

In today’s SI:AM: 

✌️ Two green jackets for Scottie
💔 Heartbreak at Amen Corner
🔵 What Kentucky’s hire says about the state of college hoops

He’s truly unstoppable

For a while on Sunday, it looked like we were headed for an instant-classic finish at the Masters. At one point in the afternoon, as the leaders wrapped up their front nine, there was a four-way tie for first place between Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, Max Homa and Ludvig Åberg. But then Scheffler showed why he is the undisputed best player in the world, making six birdies on his final 11 holes while that trio of challengers dropped out of contention one by one. At only 27 years old, Scheffler became the fourth-youngest two-time champion in Masters history.

The par-4 ninth was where Scheffler began to pull away. He and Morikawa, his playing partner in the final pairing, walked to the ninth tee tied at seven under par. But then Morikawa’s tee shot landed in the trees and his second found the bunker in front of the green. He failed to get out of the trap with his first sand shot, and the second bunker shot ran well past the hole. He then two-putted for a double bogey. Contrast that with what Scheffler did on the same hole. After striping his tee shot right down the center of the fairway, Scheffler’s approach may have been his best shot of the day. He landed it past the hole and spun it back down the slope toward the green, missing an eagle hole-out by mere inches. He tapped in for birdie to take sole possession of the lead and never looked back.

Scheffler won with a 72-hole score of 11 under par, a number that might not immediately jump off the page but is outstanding when you consider what the rest of the field did. Åberg finished second at 7-under and no one else finished better than 4-under. Put another way, only one player finished within seven shots of Scheffler. Only eight players (including Scheffler) finished the tournament under par.

Conditions were tough all week long. The wind howled on Thursday and Friday after a storm moved through the area. Warm and sunny weather on Saturday and Sunday made the greens fast and firm. On the par-3 12th on Sunday, Homa’s tee shot landed on one of those firm greens but took an enormous hop into some bushes. He made a double-bogey and dropped from one shot behind Scheffler to three shots back.

Homa wasn’t the only contender to see his hopes dashed at Amen Corner (Nos. 11, 12 and 13). Morikawa made another double-bogey on the 11th, his second in a span of three holes. Åberg also made a double on that same hole, while Scheffler showed he was human in making a bogey there.

The question for Scheffler now is what his ceiling can be. He’s been the No. 1 player in the world rankings for 83 weeks (since March 27, 2022) and has won three of the last four tournaments he’s entered. The one tournament in that stretch that he didn’t win? He finished tied for second, one shot behind the winner. He hasn’t missed the cut at a tournament since August 2022. He’s the best player in the world right now by a pretty significant margin. The longer he keeps it up, the more he’ll belong in conversations about the all-time greats.

Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart introduces new men’s basketball coach Mark Pope.
Pope replaces Calipari in Lexington. / Clare Grant/Courier Journal / USA TODAY

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Dan Gartland

DAN GARTLAND

Dan Gartland is the writer and editor of Sports Illustrated’s flagship daily newsletter, SI:AM, covering everything an educated sports fan needs to know. Previously published on Deadspin and Slate, Dan also is a former Sports Jeopardy! champion (Season 1, Episode 5).