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Scottie Scheffler hits Tiger Woods prime-near level for major odds – and it’s justified

4 Min Read

Golfbet News


    Written by Ben Everill @BEverillGolfbet

    DUBLIN, Ohio – The books might be a little scared. His opponents probably are also.

    Scottie Scheffler is the shortest-priced major championship favorite since Tiger Woods in 2009, hitting +300 ahead of the U.S. Open at Pinehurst.

    Scheffler’s price is the lowest for a major favorite since Woods was an incredible +180 consensus at the 2009 PGA Championship held at Hazeltine, the only time Woods gave up a 54-hole lead in a major, as Y.E. Yang powered over the top of the 82-time PGA TOUR winner.

    It’s also the shortest U.S. Open price since the 2009 tournament at Bethpage Black, where Woods was +200 but finished T6 behind Lucas Glover.

    Fresh off another win at the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, his fifth in eight starts, Scheffler deserves every piece of it. In the three weeks he didn’t win, he was runner-up twice and T8 at the PGA Championship. We all know what happened that week to derail him.

    He’s the first player to win five times before the U.S. Open since Tom Watson in 1980.

    Collin Morikawa threw everything at Scheffler on Sunday at Muirfield Village but ultimately fell a shot short.

    Scottie Scheffler’s news conference after winning the Memorial

    “Everything,” Morikawa said when asked the strengths of Scheffler’s game. “The guy could be off balance and the ball's right down the middle of the fairway.

    “Look, his ball striking is incredible. Growing up, his short game and putting was always amazing, but how good he hits his irons and the control he has is amazing. Distance control is key and it's king and he's got that.”

    It begs the question. What crazy scenario can stop Scheffler’s tilt at Pinehurst? A wild animal attack? Alien invasion? I kid of course, but the rest of the field knows they will need to elevate their games significantly to run with Scheffler at Pinehurst No. 2.

    Does he feel the target on his back?

    “Not really. Just because I'm the favorite next week doesn't really have any effect on my score. I think we all start at even par, if I remember correctly (laughing),” he joked.

    “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. … Hopefully going into next week I'm going it stick to my game plan and prepare the way I usually would and get ready to go out and compete again on Thursday.”

    For his part, Morikawa isn’t backing down from the challenge. He bested Scheffler by three shots on Sunday and is coming off a run of three straight top-4s. In his last seven starts on TOUR, five are top-10s. He was the 54-hole co-leader at the PGA Championship.

    “If I could play like this heading into every major, I would take it in a heartbeat,” Morikawa said. “Scottie's obviously proven himself this year and the past, let's call it three, three and a half years of what he's capable of doing.

    “But majors are majors and you got to show up and you got to have the good bounces, especially next week, a lot of the sand dunes and the bushes around, like, things have got to go your way… hopefully next week is one of my good ones.”

    Scottie Scheffler’s Round 4 winning highlights from the Memorial

    Getting back to Scheffler, his last three U.S. Opens have seen him finish 3rd, T2 and T7. Clearly, he has the game to contend – and he has the ultimate ball-striking in his favor at the moment.

    Leading into the Memorial Tournament he led the TOUR in Strokes Gained: Total, SG: Tee-to-Green and SG: Approach among many other categories. And he IMPROVED his year-to-date numbers across all three of those metrics in Ohio.

    Here are just some of his staggering stats, as Scheffler leads the TOUR in each of the below categories:

    • Strokes Gained: Total (+2.913)
    • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (+2.786)
    • Strokes Gained: Approach (+1.528)
    • Greens In Regulation (73.52%)
    • Proximity (34’2”)
    • Birdie or Better Conversion Percentage (38.96%)
    • Birdie or Better Percentage (29.96%)
    • Scoring Average (67.71)
    • Birdie Average (5.22)
    • Par Breakers (29.96%)
    • Bounce Back (36.71%)
    • Bogey Avoidance (9.04%)
    • Rd 1 Scoring Average (67.77)
    • Rd 2 Scoring Average (67.08)
    • Rd 4 Scoring Average (67.42)
    • Par 4 Scoring Average (3.85)
    • Par 5 Scoring Average (4.39)
    • Front nine Scoring Average (33.90)
    • Back nine Scoring Average (33.80)
    • Early Scoring Average (67.07)
    • Late Scoring Average (67.95)

    U.S. Opens are generally the toughest tests of the season. But Scheffler leads the TOUR in Bogey Avoidance and also in Bounce Back. In other words, when he does make a rare mistake, he rebounds from it more often than anyone else.

    He seeks to be just the seventh player in history to win both the Masters and U.S. Open in the same season. Craig Wood (1941), Ben Hogan (1951, 1953), Arnold Palmer (1960), Jack Nicklaus (1972), Tiger Woods (2002) and Jordan Spieth (2015) were the others.

    “I don't show up to these tournaments just to play. I'm here to do my best and compete,” Scheffler said. “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.”

    The fact he’s done this despite becoming a father for the first time recently, plus the chaos in Kentucky – well, it adds even more gravitas to the achievement.

    “It's been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I think that's a pretty accurate description of what it's felt like at times,” he adds. “It's definitely nice to be sitting here a winner again.”

    Are you prepared to bet against him sitting in the winner’s chair next Sunday? I’m not sure I’m game.

    For resources to overcome a gambling problem, call, or text 1-800-GAMBLER today.

    Senior Writer, Golfbet Follow Ben Everill on Twitter.

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