Scheffler was thrilled to join Nicklaus and Tiger’s “very special” elite group

Scottie Scheffler says it’s “very special” to be the only player to hold the Masters and Players Championships at the same time, alongside golf greats Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.

Scheffler won the Players’ Championship by five shots in Sawgrass on Sunday, reclaiming the world rankings.

The 26-year-old American’s dominant win comes after winning the Phoenix Open last month, along with last season’s PGA Player of the Year after collecting his first four Tour titles.

Scheffler has won six of his last 27 events, but joining Woods and Nicklaus in a rare group meant a lot to him.

“It’s a very special group of people,” Scheffler told reporters, before joking, “We could add all our majors and players together and I’ve got two now and they’ve got a lot more than that.

“But every time you’re mentioned in the same breath as Tiger and Jack, it’s very special. I am very grateful for that.”

Scheffler’s career-best form comes a month from his Masters defense, and he described how his game has matured over the past 18 months.

“I’m just comfortable with where my game is,” said Scheffler. “I feel like I’m improving. I’m definitely learning more and the more you can get into the competition and be in the moments. I’d say probably the most valuable thing is knowing what you’re in the mood for and being able to prepare for it.

“I feel a little more comfortable when I know what I have to do. I think before Phoenix [in 2022] I had this idea that if I play perfect on Sundays and just make good shots, golf doesn’t necessarily have to be played that way. Very seldom do I hit exactly the way I want, and maybe only a couple of times per tournament. Most of it is just navigating a golf course.

“Going into the Masters is going to be a fun week…but by the time we hit Thursday everyone is starting evenly so it probably won’t have much of an effect.”

The American was on a five-birdie run around the turn in Sawgrass, racking up shots on every hole from eight through 12 en route to a 69 that put him under 17 and finishing five shots ahead of Tyrrell Hatton. Scheffler broke 70 in all four rounds.

“I played very well all week, really solid,” said Scheffler. “I had some times during the week where I didn’t feel like I was doing my best or playing 100 per cent and then I would just wait and pick my moments and luckily I got pretty hot in spurts in each of mine Rounds, whether it was the back nine in the first round or eight through twelve this afternoon.

“I just found a way to pick my moments and get hot here and there and had four just really solid rounds.”

Scheffler’s dominance of the notoriously challenging sawgrass was an ominous sign for the Masters at Augusta National.

“I’m looking forward to a good tough test,” he said. “I feel like I can find a way to make pars and persevere.

“I think I had five bogeys for the whole week this week. It’s really, really hard to do at this place, and that’s probably what I’m most proud of, just playing so solidly. I think I just like the kind of challenge on harder golf courses.”

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