Learning from WM Phoenix Open Champion Scottie Scheffler

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Coaching for the quick

Learn from Scottie Scheffler (WM Phoenix Open Champion)

By Abby Parsons PGA
Published on

It’s quite difficult to describe the atmosphere of the WM Phoenix Open. Major championships and the Ryder Cup have their own magic, but this event feels like it’s in a league of its own and, believe it or not, you can sense it in the players, too.
After the tournament began at TPC Scottsdale I followed a few groups. With a stacked field it was difficult to predict who would be at top of the leaderboard each morning. Its a great way to learn about the behavior of tour players when theyre under pressure. As a coach, there are always a few things I can share with my players.
Scottie Scheffler was among the first people I saw. He defended and rose to World No. 1 at the WM Phoenix Open on Feb. 12. 1. I watched Scheffler on the driving range for a while early this week, and it did not look like a normal range session right before an event — he was truly grinding. Scheffler looked like he was unsure of his swing, despite having a huge training aid on the ground and constant trackman numbers rechecks. 

Scottie Scheffler in practice before the 2023 WM Phoenix Open.
I was wrong.
Scheffler drove the ball into the fairway on the final hole of Round 2. He then made the birdie putt. He made golf seem so simple and easy. I dont know much about him, but he is one of those players I struggle to read. After his round, I could see a heavy sigh. He was relieved to be playing well and relieved to be done.

Scottie Scheffler birdies his 64th hole to win Round 2 at the WM Phoenix Open.
After Scheffler was done, I bounced back-and-forth between the Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele groups, Tony Finau group, and the Rory McIlroy and Collin Morikawa groups, Hideki Matsuyama and Hideki Morikawa groups. These two groups were worth watching, as five of the six players were in the top 20.
I noticed many similarities between Schauffele and Spieth. They were anxious to get from one shot to the next, backed away from shots more often than they should have, spent extra time reading putts, as well as walking anxiously from one shot to another. They wanted to play well and win.

Xander Schauffele (right) and Jordan Spieth walk off the 12th tee in the 2023 WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images).
Finau and Matsuyama meanwhile acted coolly and controlled. Finau missed a few greens during the time I was following him, but he managed to scramble his way to a good round — which I think we will continue to see in the final round.
I was also able to see Collin Morikawa Rory McIlroy, another pair of PGA Champions. Morikawa had been practicing earlier in week, but he seemed to be just waiting for it to click in the tournament round. Thats what happens when you play against the best players in the game. Morikawa didn’t make the cut, but his game is primed to have a big season in 2023.
From hundreds of yards away, you can see Rorys stride. After a round-one 73, he bounced back and is now aiming to move up the leaderboard at TPC Scottsdale.

Rory McIlroy takes an approach shot on the 13th green during the third round at the 2023 WM Phoenix Open. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images
Its easy to see the greatness of some of the greatest players in the world by simply watching them from your couch or from five yards away. Pre-shot routines, self-belief, planning when to go for a flag and when to not — they’re all qualities you can transfer to your own game today.

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One Response

  1. This was a fantastic read! The author did an excellent job presenting the information in an engaging way. I’m eager to hear different viewpoints on this. Check out my profile for more discussions.

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