Home » Scottie Scheffler wins fifth title of the year at Memorial, accomplishes historic feat for the first time in 44 years – Australian Golf Digest

Scottie Scheffler wins fifth title of the year at Memorial, accomplishes historic feat for the first time in 44 years – Australian Golf Digest

[PHOTO: Andy Lyons]

Jack Nicklaus agreed to move the Memorial Tournament one week later in the schedule this year, immediately preceding the US Open, though he has never wanted his event to be thought of as a warm-up for the US Open. And it wasn’t. The US Open might not be as hard.

As Rory McIlroy noted, the Memorial “should stand on its own”, rather than be tethered to the year’s third major, and after what transpired on the final day at Muirfield Village Golf Club, the PGA Tour’s top players might favour the one-week breather they used to get before America’s national championship.

Scottie Scheffler reaffirmed his place atop the golf world and as the game’s finest ball-striker by emerging from a classic battle of attrition with his fifth title of the year and his first win as a father. After sinking a five-footer for par to preserve his one-stroke margin over Collin Morikawa, Scheffler punched the air emphatically. A minute later he extended that hand to shake hands with Nicklaus. Then he cradled his newborn son Bennett in his right arm as he went to sign his scorecard.

Thanks to grinding out a two-over-par 74, Scheffler won the Memorial Tournament and enters this week’s US Open at Pinehurst as the first player since Tom Watson in 1980 to have five wins before what in another era was thought of as golf’s toughest test. The Texan is the first player since Jon Rahm shot 75 in 2020 to capture the Memorial with a final round over par. Scheffler’s eight-under 280 total was one better than Morikawa, who carded a 71 and settled for his second runner-up finish in four years at Muirfield Village to go with a victory here in the 2020 Workday Charity Open.

The clubs Scottie Scheffler used to win the 2024 Memorial

“As far as satisfaction at the end of the week, this one’s up there pretty significantly,” said Scheffler, 27, who finished third in his previous two Memorial appearances. “Being at Mr Nicklaus’ golf course and being at a tournament where I’ve had a few close calls in the past, it’s very satisfying to hole that putt on 18 and be walking off with a win and shaking Mr Nicklaus’s hand.

“You know, I think I talked about it a little bit earlier, but a couple years ago I missed a putt that maybe would have been for a playoff, and he told me I didn’t make the putt today, but one day I’ll make the putt on 18, and I’ll be walking off to shake his hand. So, you know, it was pretty special thinking about that as I was walking over to shake his hand today and, yeah, it was a fun week.”

It wasn’t the most difficult day ever at Muirfield Village. Not even close. But it was a perplexing one. The winds swirled for a fourth straight day and were sharper, too. The greens were uncompromising, and rough that had been topped off a week ago at four inches was mean enough to pick a fight.

The field scoring average for the last round was 74.93, almost two strokes higher than any of the three previous rounds. The low round was 69 recorded by Matt Fitzpatrick and Emilano Grillo. Scheffler won despite converting just one birdie.

McIlroy and his fellow Irishman Shane Lowry, who ham-and-egged so successfully in April to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, offered curdled milk and burnt toast playing together today. They were a combined 17-over-par, with Lowry doing the heavy lifting with an 85.

“I love this golf course because you see it throughout the week, you don’t have to trick up anything,” said Morikawa, who has finished T-4, fourth and second in his past three starts. “It’s just tough golf, and you just have to hit good shots and that’s what a great golf course is, and that’s why I’ve loved this golf course since I’ve set foot here.”

Canada’s Adam Hadwin, the first-round leader, climbed within one stroke of Scheffler with two early birdies before falling back to post a 74 and 284 total. As a consolation, he claimed the tournament’s lone exemption into the 152nd Open at Royal Troon via the Open Qualifying Series.

With Scheffler around – and no longer (smirk) a renegade – consolation prizes are about all that appears available to his peers. He joined Tiger Woods as the second player to win the Memorial, Masters, Players Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational in the same season. His other win came at the RBC Heritage. That list is comprised of a major (his second green jacket), the tour’s flagship tournament and three signature events.

And this latest victory, forged by gaining nearly 13 shots on the field on approach on a genuine second-shot golf course, follows the birth of his son and the extinguishing of legal hassles he encountered at the PGA Championship which undoubtedly spoiled his bid for the second leg of the Grand Slam. It’s been a wild ride.

Good thing his golf is boring – which, if you know golf, is a really good thing.

Photo: Michael Reaves

“I try to pride myself as much as I can on… I call it compartmentalising parts of my life,” Scheffler said after his bank account was enhanced by $US4 million. “It’s definitely nice to be able to keep good form going with all that’s been going on in the world of golf and for me personally. So, yeah, it’s been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I think that’s pretty – I think that’s a pretty accurate description, I think, of what it’s felt like at times.

“Yeah, it’s definitely nice to be sitting here a winner again.”

World No.1 by a wide margin and with his five wins coming in his past eight events, Scheffler is a heavy favourite for Pinehurst No.2. An observer remarked after he seized the 36-hole lead that the Memorial was his tournament to lose. Right now, every tournament he enters is his to lose.

“Just because I’m the favourite next week doesn’t really have any effect on my score. I think we all start at even-par, if I remember correctly,” he said wryly. “Yeah, it’s a good place to be. I like how my game’s feeling right now. I feel like I’ve been playing some good golf. It’s great to see some results too and some wins. Out here the margins are so small between winning and losing. It’s a putt or a shot here or there. Fortunately, today I was able to hit the shots when I needed to.”

He’s been playing “some good golf”, he said. Huh. Lord help the golf world when his game really starts clicking.