Scottie Scheffler pulled off an impressive victory at Sawgrass this week, and the most eye-catching stat was that he became the fourth champion in The Players Championship history to record all four rounds below of 70 shots (68, 69, 65, and 69), while leading the stats for more Strokes Gained from Tee to Green (+17,167) than any other tournament champion in the ShotLink era.
The American, who had a final score of under 17, won by five shots and all of his six PGA Tour titles have come in a little over a year’s time.
Scottie Scheffler’s impressive stats
Scottie Scheffler also led the field of players in both Greens in Regulation (75%) and Drive Distance with 279.9 meters (305.9y), besides his record for strokes gained from tee to green.
He gained over seven shots with his approach game (+7.59) and over five shots around the green (+5.039), ranking fourth in both statistics for the week. He was also fourth in scrambling (72%).
So what was his secret?
Scottie Scheffler directed his game on the Titleist Pro V1 golf ball all week, and used it to hole out twice over the weekend: once for eagle, on Saturday from 18 meters on the par 5 hole 2, and again for birdie on Sunday from 10 meters on par 3 of the 8th hole. That birdie was the first of five consecutive birdies that helped him pull away from the pack.
Scottie Scheffler has always relied on Titleist ‘s performance and consistency, sticking with it since his 2013 US Junior Amateur victory, through his college career at Texas, and every shot he’s hit on the PGA Tour.
About the Pro V1, he told reporters,
“It was the best ball when it was introduced to me. Everyone wanted to play Titleist, and to this day I feel like everyone wants to play Titleist, and you see the consistency over time.”
Regarding the ball’s performance, he said,
“I feel like you’re always playing a different kind of shot. I’m rarely hitting a straight up shot, you’re always trying to do something with the golf ball. So having that consistency and knowing that the ball is going to react the way I need it to react when it comes off the face and when it hits the green is key, especially when you’re on a Tour-configured course where the greens are very firm, the wind is blowing, and you have to have total control over where the ball will go. I feel like I’ve had that consistency with the Titleist ball over the years, and I really trust how it reacts.”
“The preparation for the USA Open is a good example. When it gets really tight, it’s hard. It’s hard and windy, so you can’t necessarily always be hitting these very, very low shots, because you also have to make the ball stop on the green. So it gets really complicated with the wind and all these different things.
“If the flag is to the right back, and the wind is blowing to the right, I’ll probably try to take the spin off the ball to get it heading toward the hole. But if it’s in front, maybe it’s too windy, I’m hitting a lower shot with more spin so we can stop near the flag. So having that consistency on the ball and knowing that when I hit it correctly, the ball will do what I need it to do is very, very important.”
When asked about how he tests the balls, Scheffler said,
“The first thing I always do is take them to the short game area. For me, that is always the most important thing. From there, I’ll go to the driving range and just look at the numbers, flight distance, things like that. Then I’ll go out on the field and start taking shots. And I do the same thing in the short game area, I take a few of my current balls, I take a few of the new ball, and I just try to hit the same shot to see how the ball reacts, see what it does with the wind, and I just decide from there.”
He further said,
“One shot that I always practice is when I take something from him. I need to see that I still have the same margins (distance) between my full swing and when I take part of it off. When I’m practicing on the driving range, if I have a little miss or a shot doesn’t feel good… Usually I have a pretty good feeling of how far into the flight it actually went. If with my standard wedge I hit 130 meters and I’m trying to hit 125, maybe I cut back on my swing a little bit and go, ‘man, that really feels like 120’; and if it gets to that distance, that’s really important to me. And that gives me a lot of faith in what that golf ball is going to do.”
Titleist has been the go-to ball for the top 4 in the final standings: Scottie Scheffler (Pro V1), Tyrrell Hatton (Pro V1x), and Tom Hoge (Pro V1 Left Dot) .
In fact, 10 of the 12 players who finished in the top 10 have played The Players with a Pro V1 or Pro V1x model.