Arnold Palmer Invitational

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Bay Hill, Florida, USA

Bay Hill Club and Lodge

Scottie Scheffler

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. We will go ahead and get things started. We are joined here with Scottie Scheffler here at the media room for the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.

Scottie, you're making your second appearance here. Just tell me about why this course is so special to you.

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah, I like this course. It's pretty difficult, which I kind of like. I played it two years ago, and it was extremely, extremely difficult with the wind and everything. This year the conditions don't look as bad, but should be a good test.

Q. And kind of the significance and connection with Arnold Palmer being a past rookie winner, what is the importance of this?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Obviously, it's going to have a really good feel this week. This is Mr. Palmer's legacy, so it's nice to be able to come out and play and kind of enjoy the area here. He built a great golf course, so it's just nice to be here and enjoy it.

THE MODERATOR: Making the 10th start of the season, already got your first PGA TOUR win earlier this season, week off. How is your game feeling entering the week?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: It feels pretty good. I'm well rested. We had some bad weather at home in Dallas again last week, so I got a good amount of rest. It was pretty cold out, so didn't do too much.

Q. A lot of times TOUR players will get their first victory, and they have a plan. They're going to go out and buy a car. They're going to get a new house, or they're going to do a special vacation or buy their wife something. Do you have anything like that in mind?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Not quite. For me, winning is such a great feeling. It was so fun for me and my wife, like the money earned rarely came into our head. It was just being out here and competing and being able to actually win a tournament is pretty joyful.

So for us, we didn't really do anything special. We had our family and friends come over a couple nights last week, but other than that, not too much.

Q. What do you make of this time of the year? I mean, the season's kind of -- we have the West Coast, then it just feels like everything is building toward a big part of the season. What is your take on it for a guy who lives minute to minute?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: This part of the year, it starts to get into those bigger events with THE PLAYERS coming up, Match Play, the Masters. We've got a lot of big events coming up, this one included.

It's a good time to be playing golf. The weather is good here this time of year. So just come over, the golf course is in great shape. The rough is really healthy. We'll have a good test this week. Next week's obviously a fantastic place as well.

Q. This is diving deep into the memory bank, but do you remember the first time you played here, Wyndham Cup, long time ago?


Q. Anything stand out from that week?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: It was a really long time ago (laughter). I just remember being -- it being so cool to come here and play the golf course. We watched it so many times on TV, watching Tiger win this tournament and make his putts on 18. So just kind of being on the same grounds where all that type of historic stuff had happened, it was just really cool coming here and being able to play. It was really special for them to let us come and play this golf course.

Q. Do you remember if Arnie was here that week?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I don't think that he was. It was the middle of the summer, so he was probably back in Pennsylvania, if I remember correctly. We had a great time down here. Everybody stayed in the hotel right there on the putting green. Spent a lot of time on that practice putting green just having some good competitions with all the guys. It was a fun week.

Q. Scottie, as you were chasing that first victory and you'd come close, not quite get there, come close again, come close again, what was kind of the mental progression that you were going through at that time? Was there frustration? Do you treat it as a learning experience? How did you deal with that?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I think being close to winning and not winning is extremely frustrating. There's really only a couple tournaments where I felt like I really should have won the golf tournament. Really the ones I can remember off the top of my head is just Houston and Austin. Those two are golf tournaments where I felt like I should have won the tournament and didn't. So those were extremely frustrating.

I mean, you come out here to play and compete, and winning is a lot more fun than finishing second. Having a couple of those close calls is definitely frustrating. It doesn't take me very long to kind of get over things, though. For me, it's just I kind of live week to week. Those things are frustrating and they motivate you a little bit, but overall I just like competing and like to try to come out here and win. So for me, that's motivation enough.

Q. Sahith Theegala was here earlier. He played a factor in Phoenix where you won. I don't know how much you may look at what he does, but as he goes through that process, do you see similarities at all in maybe what you were going through a few years ago?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I'm not really sure. Sahith's obviously a fantastic player. I like playing golf with him. I like watching him play golf with all the different shots he hits and kind of the way he competes. Last week I wasn't really paying too much attention to what he was doing in the final round. I was just out there competing.

I think he's got a really bright future out here, and I'm looking forward to keep watching him compete and play well. It's tough getting started out here on TOUR. It's tough to win early. I think we got pretty spoiled with guys like Collin and Viktor and Matt Wolff just winning so quickly in their first few starts, I think everybody expects that to happen. There's some really great players out here that took a little time to get a couple wins under their belt. It's pretty difficult to win out here on TOUR.

Q. Scottie, could you talk about the strategy on the 6th hole for the guys who are mere mortals who aren't trying to drive the green. What do you think? How do you approach that hole?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I just try to get it in the fairway. For me I have a tee shot that I usually hit on that hole. I actually haven't played that nine yet this year, so I know what I did two years ago, and I'm assuming that's going to work this week as well. For me, just trying to be aggressive and get that ball in play, and if not, get it back in play as quickly as possible.

Q. Use a driver off the tee?


Q. You said you had watched Tiger win this tournament and make his putts on 18. During your practice rounds, do you ever try and make those putts yourself?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah, well, as far as I can remember, the pin is usually always way over there on the right side on Sunday. So we're always practicing that pin because, first of all, it's a really difficult pin on that green. Where Tiger was hitting it is exactly where you want to try and put your ball.

Of course, we definitely -- we practiced those putts a couple hours ago.

Q. How did you do?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: We did all right.

Q. If you go back not so far back as the Wyndham Cup, of course, but early in your days on TOUR, was there ever a moment where you felt like you really belonged? Or did you feel that way as soon as you got your card and got out here?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: So I was fortunate to play in a few PGA TOUR events before I got out here. So it was good for me to kind of know what to expect. I think I played a couple U.S. Opens. I played maybe the Byron once, Memphis once. So I had kind of -- and then I had one or two starts before I got out here full-time. So I knew what to expect.

Then getting out here, I felt like I belonged pretty quick just because I earned my way out here. I wasn't playing on sponsor exemptions. I did the Korn Ferry Tour, I had a good year on the Korn Ferry Tour, and I earned my spot out here. So coming out and playing those first few events, I remember playing the Greenbrier, and I think I was in the final group on Saturday. It felt like where I was supposed to be.

Q. Secondly, for a younger person, when you think of the name Arnold Palmer or see an image, what comes to mind? Had you met him when he was a younger man?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I met him once at a tournament kind of in passing. I didn't really get a chance to spend much time with him. For me, the first thing when I think of Arnie, I think of his golf swing. As someone who doesn't have a perfect golf swing like myself, it's kind of fun seeing his follow through and seeing the way he played golf, playing so aggressively and kind of with a quirky swing. I look up to him a lot.

Q. What was the passing moment? How old were you? Do you remember where it was?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: My dad remembers it more than I do. It was some Champions Tour event around Texas somewhere. I can't remember exactly where it was.

Q. Small state.

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah (laughter).

THE MODERATOR: We will wrap it up. Scottie, thank you for taking the time and joining us. Good luck this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
117256-1-1182 2022-03-01 21:22:00 GMT

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