Scottie Scheffler: Xander and Rory Won't Distract Me on the Course, It's All Up to Me

"I still don't feel like there's much of a target on my back."-Scheffler said.

by Sead Dedovic
Scottie Scheffler: Xander and Rory Won't Distract Me on the Course, It's All Up to Me
© Gregory Shamus/Getty Images Sport

Scottie Scheffler is the golfer from whom fans expect the most in this year's edition of the US Open. The incredible form of the 27-year-old is the reason why many believe Scheffler can win a Major trophy. The amazing American has managed to secure five victories this season: the Arnold Palmer Invitational, The Players, The Masters, RBC Heritage, and most recently, the Memorial Tournament. 

This year, his biggest competition will come from two great names in the world of golf: Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele. Scottie is aware of this but does not intend to think too much about his opponents or his past near-misses at the US Open. Reflecting on his win at the Memorial, Scheffler mentioned that he was happy for a few minutes, but his focus quickly shifted to the upcoming challenges. His mindset is truly special, as Scheffler always strives to immediately focus on the next event after a victory.

"I feel like coming off of last week, I was really excited and celebrated for a few minutes there, but my mind kind of just goes on to the next thing. I was getting ready, trying to get out of there and trying to prep for next week."- Scheffler said, as quoted by Sky Sports.

Scheffler explained that he's no longer focusing on his past victories. His current focus is only on preparing for this week’s tournament. He emphasized that winning last week doesn't give him any advantages over the other players this week. Everyone starts at even par on Thursday, making the competition level for all participants. Scheffler stresses that last week's success is irrelevant now.

It is clear that Scheffler aims to alleviate the pressure on himself and downplay the role of being the favorite, even though he is comfortable with that role. He is someone accustomed to handling pressure and expectations, as evidenced by his success in previous tournaments. Majors are a different dimension altogether, where the pressure is greater. However, Scheffler intends to approach this new challenge calmly, without overthinking what might happen.

Scottie Scheffler: I still don't feel like there's much of a target on my back

The excellent golfer emphasizes that he does not feel any special pressure, believing that everyone has equal chances and that he is accustomed to playing with big names. Scheffler points out that none of his opponents, mentioning Schauffele and McIlroy, will be playing in his place or affecting his game. He stresses that he must play his best and that everything will depend on his performance.

"I still don't feel like there's much of a target on my back. It's not like anybody is out there playing defence. When I play with Xander (Schauffele) and Rory (McIlroy) here Thursday and Friday, they're not going to be saying weird stuff to me out on the golf course or trying to block my putt from going in the hole."- he said.

Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele
Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele© Octavio Passos/Getty Images Sport

Playing in these tournaments is truly challenging. Considering the names that will be part of the spectacle, they are all top names in the world of golf and athletes at the pinnacle of the sport. In such competition, it is incredibly difficult to rise to the top and be the best unless you are truly a phenomenal golfer. Scheffler certainly is. During the rest of the press conference, he consistently emphasized the same point: his game will depend on him. This will be a great opportunity for him to try to claim another trophy.

"We all kind of got to go out there and play our game. As far as a target on my back, even if there was, there's really not much we can do in the game of golf. Most of it is against the golf course and playing against yourself."- Scheffler said.

Rory McIlroy's press conference

His colleague, Rory McIlroy, was mostly asked the same questions as Scheffler. The difference is that journalists emphasized Scheffler and Schauffele as the main competitors to him. The Northern Irishman had only words of praise for Scheffler and the form he is in. Rory decided to joke at one point and say that only a jail cell can prevent Scheffler from winning the tournament, alluding to the incident that happened before the start of the PGA Championship. The Northern Irishman knows that Scheffler will be the biggest danger to everyone.

When colleagues like McIlroy have such opinions about you, it's a sign that you're valued. Scottie will want to capitalize on the momentum and the form he's in, ready to lift an important trophy. All that's left for us is to be patient and enjoy the moves of great golfers.

Scottie Scheffler