Scottie Scheffler hails influence of English putting guru after Masters win

By Sports Desk April 15, 2024

Scottie Scheffler has hailed the influence of English putting guru Phil Kenyon after claiming his second Masters title in the last three years.

Scheffler compiled one of the best ball-striking seasons ever seen in 2023, his adjusted scoring average of 68.63 being the seventh-lowest in PGA Tour history and the best by anyone not named Tiger Woods.

In total Scheffler was ranked first in nine different categories, including greens in regulation and strokes gained off the tee, but was ranked 162nd out of 193 players in putting.

That prompted the world number one to turn to Kenyon for help and the move has paid massive dividends, with Scheffler winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Players Championship in successive weeks and finishing second in his next start before travelling to Augusta.

“After East Lake last year, ride home on the plane, sitting there talking to Blake [Smith, his agent] and we kind of look at each other, and I think we both were thinking the same thing,” the 27-year-old American explained following his nerveless four-shot Masters win over Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg.

“And we both looked at each other, and I was like, ‘You know, I want to see a putting coach’. Blake goes, ‘I think that’s a good idea. Let’s talk to Randy [Smith, his coach].

“I had watched Phil before and watched him coach players. When you’re out here as long as I’ve been, I just see stuff, and I loved the way Phil coached his players.

“You look at a guy like Fitzy [Matt Fitzpatrick] who lines up his putts and uses a putter that has a lot of swing to it, and you look at a guy like Keegan Bradley, doesn’t use a line on the ball, uses a big giant putter cross-handed, and he putts good.

“As I watched Phil, I could tell that he was open-minded, and that’s the type of people I like to work with. And we kind of hit the ground running in the fall.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the decision that Randy also made to be open-minded, not take an ego to it, sit there, watch us work, watch Phil do his thing.

“Phil is also a guy that doesn’t have a big ego. He just wants what’s best for his players. I’m really, really fortunate to have those two guys as part of my team.

“Randy had taught me for almost 20 years every single aspect of the game. And so for me to have to bring in somebody else could have been a shot to his ego and he may not have wanted me to do it.

“But Randy sat there and he said, ‘You know what, I think it’s the right time’. We called Phil and about a week later he came in, had a visit. We worked for a couple days, and, yeah, now we’re here.”

Another key member of Scheffler’s team is caddie Ted Scott, who formerly worked for two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson.

“Ted, it’s going to be hard to catch up with you on all these Masters titles if you keep working for me,” Scheffler joked during the green jacket presentation ceremony.

The pair had met in a bible study class on the PGA Tour and Scheffler and Watson played together in the Zurich Classic team event before Watson and Scott parted ways.

“When he called me I had no idea he was that good,” Scott said.

“We were his partner in New Orleans. I was like, yeah, he’s a good player, and he’s a great guy. I’d love to hang out with him. After two weeks, I was like, this guy is really good. Now it’s like, wow, is he really good. I’m surprised too.

“I’m just pinching myself honestly. I don’t really know what I’m seeing. The guy is special. He’s a different kind of special. I think we’re all seeing it, and we’re all questioning where did this come from?

“I think discipline is a word that comes to mind. I’ve heard stories that when he was seven years old he would show up at the golf course wearing pants [trousers], talking about he’s going to be on the PGA Tour.

“And he just does all the little things well, and he does them consistently. He doesn’t skip. He doesn’t miss a day. He has that mentality of like ‘I’m going somewhere with all this, I’m actually doing it for a reason’.

“Then when he gets in a moment, he’s got all the tools.”

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