FedEx St. Jude Championship

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Memphis, Tennessee, USA

TPC Southwind

Scottie Scheffler

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Scottie Scheffler to the media center here at the FedEx St. Jude Championship. Scottie is entering the FedExCup Playoffs this week at No. 2 and finished the regular season No. 2 in the Comcast Business Tour Top 10. Two wins on the season, 15 top 10s, an impressive run.

Some opening thoughts from you on the regular season and how it's primed you for another Playoffs run here.

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah, I've had a pretty good year so far. Very proud of the consistency that I've had throughout the year. Excited tore the Playoffs. Feel like my game is in a really good spot, and yeah, ready to go.

THE MODERATOR: We understand you have two weeks off entering the Playoffs; how was that break for you? What, if anything, were you really focused on game-wise to get you ready for this three-week stretch?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Focused on rest, I would say, most importantly. After the major season that we had and having all the elevated events, and with me playing good golf, being in contention a lot of the weeks and having some decent chances to win definitely wears on you mentally.

I was pretty tired after the Open. Just took a nice good -- I think it was eight days off where I didn't touch a club, just took pure rest and started practicing beginning of last week to get ready for this week, and yeah.

Q. Pierceson Coody gave you a shout-out last week during his Tour-bound. He said he's been trying to emulate you this year and finish No. 1 on the points list. What's it like for you to hear that, and what's it like for Pierceson to look up to you already as you're such a young player still? What do you remember about Pierceson's game?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Well, first, about Pierceson's game, I remember him being really good, him and his brother. They're both really talented players. It's good to see them having success. I think Parker also made the Playoffs. I love seeing Longhorns have success out here on TOUR.

It's nice to have people look up to you. I don't really know what I would be doing to receive something like that, but I will try and keep doing my best, and hopefully won't make too many mistakes.

I feel like the Texas Longhorn family out here on TOUR is pretty tight, and Jordan was one of those guys that I looked up to when I was growing up, and he was always a little bit ahead of me in terms of age and kind of golf development, and when I got out here on TOUR, he was a really good guy for me to be able to bounce stuff off of, and it's been kind of the same thing, just open-door policy with those guys, both the Coodys and Cole. Whenever they have questions, I'm happy to answer them.

It's just something that's important. When you start out here on TOUR, there really is so much to learn. A lot of it you can learn by experience, and a lot of it you've just got to ask questions. There's just random stuff about where you want to stay, where you want to eat. There's so many things that go into how you want to plan your weeks out here on TOUR, and when I first started, I had no idea what I was doing. So it was really good to have some older guys that I was able to bounce stuff off of, and hopefully I can be a little bit of a sounding board for the younger guys coming up, as well.

Q. What are your thoughts about the course and how it's playing today, especially not knowing the conditions moving forward this week?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah, we've gotten a lot of rain so far this week, and I've heard it's been kind of a rainy season here recently, so the rough is a bit thicker than I remember it being. Gotten some really, really nasty lies around the greens, so that's a little bit of a change for this year.

I mean, the rough has always been pretty penal here, but it seems to be a lot thicker than it has been in years past. Other than that, the golf course provides the same challenges. You've got to hit it really good out here, and when you're in position you can score, but the second you start hitting the ball off line, you're going to be penalized pretty severely for those mistakes, especially with a lot of the water holes.

Bermuda rough going into Bermuda greens is always a challenge, just judging how the ball is going to come out.

Q. Your best finish coming in 2020, missing the cut last year. With the rest the last couple weeks, do you think that's going to help your game?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I'm sure hoping it's going to help my game. This is a course that I really enjoy playing. I haven't had as much success at this place as I have at some other courses on TOUR. I don't know why that is, but I'm definitely hoping to change that going into this week.

Q. As it relates to the next three weeks, what have you learned about this segment from last year? What did last year teach you?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I think -- I'm treating this year more as trying to build up for East Lake. I feel like if I go out and have a great week at East Lake with the position I'm in now in the FedExCup, I can't fall too far away from the lead.

I am kind of trying to build my way into that tournament and make sure I'm rested just because it's the Playoffs. The fields are really good. You don't want to be tired going into the weekend at East Lake just because those are going to be the two most important -- the four most important days of the Playoffs.

I could win both these tournaments and I still only have a two-shot lead at East Lake. It's a different format, and just trying to be ready for that tournament.

Q. How much do you think about last year? What do you think happened, and in general, is it underrated how hard it is to play with a big lead?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I would say it's underrated how hard it is to win out here on TOUR. I just think that the fields are really deep, and I think you also saw that in the major season this year. You had Wyndham Clark and Brian win. Brian won the British Open by six shots.

No insult to Brian, but he probably wasn't on a lot of people's lists to win the tournament that week, and it just shows the depth of talent that we have out here on TOUR. Wyndham was a guy that may not have been on many people's radar in the middle of last year, and he shows up and wins an elevated event, then wins a major the next month, and he's second in the Ryder Cup points list.

It's really fun for us as players to have such great competition, and I think what I learned last year at East Lake was I learned, yeah, it is hard to play with a lead. It's something that I've had success with, and I failed at it once. It's definitely frustrating when you fail, but I felt like I learned a lot about myself, and it's definitely not an experience I hope to have again in the future.

Q. Can you speak to how personally you feel about Jay being able to come back, how important that is, and maybe your sense of your peers, their happiness that Jay is back and is okay?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah, so I mean, I went to the player meeting yesterday, and I realized I hadn't seen Jay in quite a bit of time. Yeah, it's definitely good to have him back. I think the TOUR has got a long way to go.

But it's always nice having Jay back in person. Guys when they want to can have face-to-face time with him. He's always available, and he's doing the best that he can to make sure that he's getting as much player input as possible.

Q. Did you have any sense that he might not come back, that what he was dealing with was --

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I don't think anybody knows what he's been dealing with at home. As in person, we're just glad to see him back out here doing what he loves to do, and hopefully he'll be doing that for a long time.

Q. You mentioned the TOUR still has a long way to go. I was wondering if you could elaborate on that. Does that mean in terms of explaining the deal to players or the details of it? Can you expand on that a bit?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah, you have the framework agreement, which nobody is entirely sure what that means, and then you've got whatever they're working towards. The position where I'm sitting now, it just seems like they've got a long way to go in that sense to where there's still not really much to say. We still don't really have a great idea as to what is going on right now.

Q. You're a proud Longhorn; talk about your program joining the Southeastern Conference. Talk about the development of those collegiate golfers joining such a proud golf conference as the Southeastern Conference.

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah, I feel like at the University of Texas, I kind of talked a little bit about it earlier, was it's a family out here. When I first came out on TOUR, there was a lot of guys that I knew from either when I was being recruited or from when I was on the team.

I have great relationships with all the guys that have graduated from University of Texas.

Yeah, it should be a fun experience for the guys. It'll be fun for football. It'll be fun for basketball. It's exciting for me as a fan to be able to have that, and then any competition is good competition in golf, and Texas and Oklahoma have both been great golf schools, I think, for a good bit of time. We'll be joining a lot of other great programs there in the SEC.

Q. You've won one major. How do you compare the motivation to win the FedExCup Playoffs compared to the other three majors that you haven't won? Does it drive you in the same way?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah, I mean, I want to win as many tournaments as I possibly can. The majors obviously hold a pretty special place in the game, so they're a bit different. But as far as everything else goes, I want to win every tournament I tee it up in.

I didn't come here to Memphis to finish 20th and be ecstatic with it. Know what I mean?

You play, practice and prepare to go out and try and win golf tournaments, and that's what's really the fun part. When you get in the heat of the battle and you're able to succeed, that moment of joy you feel on the 18th green after accomplishing that feat is really special.

Sadly in this game, it just doesn't last very long because you tee it up again the next week most times.

I'm excited to get another crack at the Playoffs. I'm obviously not ecstatic with the way last year finished. I feel like last year was a year in which I should have won the FedExCup, and I didn't, and this year is a year where we've had a lot of guys having really good seasons. Jon had a great run at the beginning of the year, and I've been consistent most of the year, and Rory has popped up on leaderboards here and there and won a few times.

We've got a lot of guys out here that are playing well, and it should be an exciting finish to the year.

Q. With the playoff criteria for this week going from 125 to 70, has there been any reaction from you or other players regarding some of those big names that aren't here this week as well as the changes to the playoff format?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: You're asking for like a reaction?

Q. Yeah, has there been any different feeling this week with some of those guys not here as well as the field going from 125 to 70 this year?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I would say it's a little different with it being only 70. I think it would be more rewarding for the guys that have played the best throughout the year.

With the changes to the points system -- not changes. With the way the points system is with there being, I think, 2,000 points for a win this week, it gives a little bit more of a reward to the guys that have played the most consistent golf over the year.

But it is strange with there only being 70 guys making the Playoffs. We'll see how it pans out. The FedExCup has changed so much since it's came into a part of our TOUR, and it's a fun way to finish off the year. It's exciting for us, and it's the season-long race. Yeah, we'll see how it shakes out.

Q. I saw you working with a new putter yesterday. What's the experience been like working with it over the last couple of days, and anything in particular that you like about it?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: So the guys at Taylor Made have done a lot of work for me with the putter. I've always liked the visual of that Spider putter, but I really just did not like the feel. That's something we discussed, kind of the feel and -- I've always struggled with putters that have a lot of weight in the back side of it, and this one is a bit different than a lot of the Spiders that they've made, and the weight is more in the front so it has the feel of a blade putter that I like but it also has a lot of that visual on the top where it's easier for me to line up. It feels like at times this year I've hit a lot of good putts that have gone right up to the edge and not gone in.

Maybe it could be my alignment. If your alignment is a half inch off, the ball lips out instead of going in the middle or lips out instead of lips in. The margins in this game are so close, so it's something that I feel really comfortable with where the balance point is on this putter, and I'm excited to try it out this week.

Q. Things really seemed to change for you. Your career really took off after playing in that Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits two years ago. Is it too simple to say that that really gave you a boost? You were sort of viewed as the last guy on; it's amazing how much different it is now. Now you're the first guy on basically. Curious when you think back to that how much that meant and if it really did sort of give you an impetus into 2022 and what you've accomplished.

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I mean, it would be pretty hard to argue that it didn't have much of an effect.

I would say that it definitely had an extreme impact on my career. I would say that the Ryder Cup is the most pressure that I've ever felt as a golfer. Some of my buddies, we were at the lake last weekend, and some of my buddies were asking me about the Ryder Cup and if it really was that intense, and I was like -- when I stepped up on the first tee in the first match, I literally could not feel my arms, and I've been really nervous before, and I was really nervous at the Masters, but I could still feel my arms. When I teed up at the Ryder Cup, literally could not feel my arms.

A lot of different things go into that kind of catapulting me, one of them being having the vote of the guys on the team. There was a lot of guys in that team room that wanted me to be on that team, and when you get that vote of confidence from your peers, it's something that really means a lot to me, just having that belief.

It wasn't like I was friends with the captain and he picked me to be on that team. I had a lot of guys on that team that believed in me as a player and thought I had the talent to be in that team, and I went out there, and I played like I deserved to be on that team.

So having their vote was really important.

Then in terms of being in that extreme pressure, it's different preparing to be in that pressure. It's different when you go home and you're like, okay, this is exactly how I feel under the most extreme pressure I can be under, and now I go back knowing exactly what I feel like and I can imagine myself being in that scenario, and I know what the feels are, and now I can go back and prepare for them.

It's definitely something that has had an extreme impact on my career being able to play in that tournament and play well.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you for the time. Best of luck this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
135672-1-1002 2023-08-09 16:05:00 GMT

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