There’s No Slowing Down Scottie Scheffler

The world’s No. 1 player—who has had an eventful year on and off the course—finished the second round of the Memorial Tournament with a three-shot lead. 
Scheffler has won four times this season—his worst finish in the last three months was a tie for eighth at the PGA Championship.
Scheffler has won four times this season—his worst finish in the last three months was a tie for eighth at the PGA Championship. / Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

DUBLIN, Ohio — The last time Scottie Scheffler walked off a golf course feeling bad about the way he played was . . . well, he couldn’t quite remember on Friday.

When pressed, the world’s No. 1 player cited the third round of the PGA Championship, the day after his much-discussed arrest due to a traffic issue that continues to garner headlines, though the charges have been dropped.

Scheffler shot 73 that day at Valhalla Golf Club, the first time in 2024 that he failed to shoot par or better. Must be rough.

The second round of the Memorial Tournament was more of the same for Scheffler, who has been on an impressive roll that sees him near the top of leaderboards nearly every time he plays.

Scheffler birdied the 18th hole at Muirfield Village Golf Club to shoot 68, which followed a first-round 67, giving him a three-shot advantage through 36 holes at Jack Nicklaus’s tournament.

“I try to forget those days, and so I'm pretty fortunate right now that I can't really remember,’’ Scheffler said when asked about those rare tough days. “The only one I can really remember was Saturday at the PGA, but that was another caddie, so we'll blame him for that.’’

Scheffler was joking about his regular caddie, Ted Scott, being absent that day due to his daughter’s high school graduation.

But the bottom line is there have been few poor outings for Scheffler all year. He’s won four times, including the Masters and the Players Championship. He finished second at two recent starts, including the Charles Schwab Challenge two weeks ago. His “worst’’ event in the last three months was the tie for eighth at the PGA Championship.

And now he’s leading a $20 million Signature Event.

“I think at this point you're almost expecting him to do those things, so it's almost like I can only do myself and can control what I can control,’’ said Ludvig Aberg, who played with Scheffler the first two rounds and is in sixth place, five shots back. “Obviously he's playing very, very good golf and it doesn't look very difficult when he's playing, but all I can do is try to keep up and make sure I'm not too far behind, I guess.’’

Scheffler is making it look easy, even if he disagrees.

“No, easy is definitely not the right word,’’ Scheffler said laughing. “I feel like what I love about this game is how difficult it is. I love coming out here and competing against the best players in the world on the best golf courses, and this is obviously a pretty challenging track. I really just love competing out here, and I don't really think about whether or not it's easy or hard, and some days I play good and some days I don't, and outside of that, I'm just out here trying to compete.

“Sometimes it feels really good and then sometimes it doesn't feel as good. I don't really know how to describe it other than that. I'm going to try not to really think about it much, to be honest with you.’’

Scheffler is three shots ahead of first-round leader Adam Hadwin, defending Memorial champion Viktor Hovland and four ahead of Keegan Bradley and Christiaan Bezuidenhout. Rory McIlroy is six shots back in a tie for seventh.

The tournament is one of three Signature Events—along with the Genesis Invitational and the Arnold Palmer Invitational—that has a 36-hole cut, which came at 148, 4-over par, with 51 players in the 73-player field advancing.

Among those who missed the cut were Jordan Spieth, defending U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark, Patrick Cantlay and Rickie Fowler, who shot 82 on Friday.

Scheffler has his fifth 36-hole lead of the year and is atop the field in strokes gained approach to the green and strokes gained tee to green. He’s trying to become the first player since Justin Thomas in 2017 to win five times in a season.


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Bob Harig

BOB HARIG

Bob Harig is a senior golf writer for Sports Illustrated. He has more than 25 years experience covering golf, including 15 at ESPN. Bob is a regular guest on Sirius XM PGA Tour Radio and has written two books, DRIVE: The Lasting Legacy of Tiger Woods and Tiger and Phil: Golf's Most Fascinating Rivalry. He graduated from Indiana University where he earned an Evans Scholarship, named in honor of the great amateur golfer Charles (Chick) Evans Jr. Bob, a former president of the Golf Writers Association of America, lives in Clearwater, Florida.