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January 4, 2023

Scottie Scheffler

Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii, USA

Plantation Course at Kapalua

Press Conference

JOHN BUSH: We're joined by Scottie Scheffler here at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Scottie is making his second start at the Sentry Tournament of Champions coming off of a four-win season winning Player of the Year honors on the PGA TOUR.

Scotty, welcome back to Kapalua. If we can get some comments on being here.

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah. It's good to be back. This is great way to start the year. It's definitely a lot of fun being here. It's definitely a tournament you want to start the year with. So it's definitely fun to be here.

JOHN BUSH: How were your holidays and how is the state of your game?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Holidays were great. Christmas was a lot of fun. It was good getting to see family again and just hang out and relax.

Game feels pretty good. Yeah, I feel prepared.

JOHN BUSH: Let's go right into questions.

Q. A standard question probably for the new year is: What are your goals? At this point last year you were still looking for your first win and kind of a whirlwind, four wins, Masters, all that. How do you raise your bar if you have goals --

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I've never been a guy that sets long-term goals. For me, it's always been best just to stay in the present and work on things just one step at a time.

So for me, I have dreams and aspirations, but as far as looking too far into the future, I was just getting prepared for this week and just trying to get off to a good start to the year.

Q. It looks like you're changing into Stealth 2 driver, fairway wood?


Q. What went into that testing process, initial thoughts?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah, the testing process, it was pretty simple for me. This was I think an easy fitting. The driver, when we were going through the fitting if there was something that wasn't feeling right with the head, I noticed at first it was really stable. So if I was hitting it left, the ball would always kind of hang left, and then if one head was going too far right, the ball would kind of hang there. So the thing I notices and was excited about was how stable it was.

And getting into it was pretty seamless. I went up to The Kingdom this winter and just kind of got into the driver, and the numbers were matching up nicely, and I thought it was a lot more stable, so I put it in play.

Q. The stock Stealth 2 fairway wood instead of the plus 2? Did you test both?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I don't know which one it is. I think it's the Stealth 2. Is the plus the bigger one?

Q. It's the one with the weight.

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah. Mine does not have a weight, so that would be regular Stealth 2. And that one I always look for distance first. Like, when we do the fitting, we'll get it going the right distance, and then if I can hit all my shots, and I noticed with this one I was able to hit kind of down into the ball more, and so that part excited me. The front edge sat a little bit squarer, so it's got a little better look to me.

Q. You said you don't like to make these big long-term goals. So then on like a week-to-week basis what constitutes a good week? Is there a certain stat that you're looking at, is it a feeling, or how do you determine whether that week was satisfactory?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah, I would say a successful week for me is if I approach things the right way. So if I show up here in Hawaii and I'm prepared and I've done everything I could to play well and if I go out and mentally I'm approaching it the right way, I have a good attitude and I'm trying to hit good shots, that's a successful week for me.

Q. (No Microphone.)

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah, for sure. I think an example was South Carolina. I felt like my attitude was really poor. I wasn't approaching shots the right way. I wasn't behaving well. I was getting very frustrated. And I had two great weeks after that, which was Houston and Mexico.

I think Mexico was one of the best weeks I had in a while just because my attitude was so good. I wasn't thinking about anything else. I was just trying to hit good shots and having fun doing it.

Q. What makes you have a bad attitude?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I think probably unrealistic expectations for myself. I think just like kind of the growing frustration. Golf can be a frustrating game, and so I think when you prepare to play well and you show up and you're not playing well, it can be frustrating.

But I think understanding that that stuff's going to happen and all I can do is put in the right prep work and approach things appropriately mentally, and so whether that be being fully committed to my shot and, like, for instance, South Carolina was somewhere I was trying to play perfect and that doesn't really work for me.

Q. When you talk expectation, are you talking about shot or result?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Shot, I guess, and result too because I expect to hit a really good shot and I expect it to turn out exactly where I want it to be and that's not really how golf works.

Q. You would expect to win every week you play, don't you?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I hope to. I don't show up here trying to finish fifth.

Q. I hope not.

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah (laughing.)

Q. And then you were No. 1 in the world for the most weeks last year and earned it. Did you ever feel like it?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: No, not really. I think I'm always trying to improve. I feel like when you're at the top, if you feel like you're at the top, you're not really motivated to continue to work. For me, I never felt like No. 1 in the world. I'm just myself. I just show up and try and play good golf. So outside of that, I didn't look too far ahead.

Q. What I mean is: Do you get a sense that people looked at you at No. 1 just because it happened so quickly, a guy who went from zero to 60 in three seconds?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Are you saying, like --

Q. And I'm not suggesting you pay attention to the outside world or outside noise, but you could take Rory or Jason Day at the time and they walked into the room and kind of felt like the No. 1 or looked upon as the No. 1. Did you ever get that sense, just given how quickly --

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Oh, you're saying like the perception of me being the best?

Q. Yeah.

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I would say that most people didn't perceive me that way, that being whatever it is. It doesn't affect me. But I would say that I think you're right. Since I maybe got to the top so quickly, maybe people didn't perceive me as being the best player in the world, whatever that means.

Q. But you never felt like you had to live up to it?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: No. I mean, like I said, successful weeks for me look a little bit differently. If I can show up and I have a great attitude and I'm committed to my shots and I'm playing golf the right way, then that's a good week for me.

So getting caught up in the noise of who thinks the best player is isn't going to help me be successful and approach things the right way. That's going to have my mind out here when it needs to be here.

Q. You just said about concentrating on this week, but how do the major venues set up for you? Obviously not talking about Augusta.

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Augusta is good. I like Augusta. U.S. Open is at LACC. PGA's at Oak Hill? Where is the Open?

Q. Hoy Lake.

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Okay. So I haven't played Hoy Lake. I haven't played Oak Hill. I've played LACC, so I got an advantage there because not many people have played LACC. That was a fantastic golf course. It was a lot of fun to play. I had a great time playing the Walker Cup there and I'm excited to go back there and see it. It's really a special place.

Q. To follow-up, have you looked at major venues in the past ahead of time and said, hmm, all right, how do they set up? Do I know them? Do I care?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Well, I definitely care. Those are --

Q. I mean, do you care if you've been there?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah. Those are the events on the schedule that you get extra excited for, and so if I'm playing the week before, I have to really focus on being present for that week because the majors are right around the corner.

Having not played the golf courses, it's really difficult. I think major championships set up well for me. I like the aspects of those tournaments where they're very challenging. I kind of like the grind of those tournaments where a par is a great score, where the easier golf courses, I don't think mentally I get as excited. For me, the majors are kind of exciting because you feel like you're going into a boxing match. You're going in to really fight the golf course and stuff like that, and those are really fun.

So as far as the golf courses go, I think you just know they're going to be challenging.

Q. This is your first trip here for this event, correct?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: This is my second. This is my first actually winning. I got -- yeah, COVID helped me out.

Q. What's it like to be here this week with things a little bit different than the last time, a designated event, 17 of the top 20 here? What's it like to be here this time for you?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: It's a lot of fun. I think having so many guys that are playing well and they're top of the world rankings and it's fun to have everybody here together. It definitely makes things more exciting when it's a good field.

Being here, it's a lot of fun. Like I said, it's a great place to start the year. It's kind of weird being here because I know what it was like when I was here two years ago, and so -- what am I trying to say?

Two years ago it was my wife and I's first tournament being married, and she never really traveled with me before, and so this was her first tournament. And I was a rookie on TOUR -- or it was just after my rookie year. I really didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what I was doing. I was just trying to win one golf tournament.

So it's a little bit weird coming back now having accomplished a few different things and it's really cool to look back and kind of see what we were like then to now and it's exciting to be here this week.

Q. How does this course fit you?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I think you've got to be really creative. The fairways are really wide, but you get some wind on 'em, and there's a lot of slope in the greens, and so it can be a really fun place to play just with the huge changes in elevation. You can be creative with the golf course.

Q. Is the vibe just a bit different than two years ago with that designated event feel?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah, I think with the designated event feel, it's a little bit, I mean, I don't know. I think this one still always gets a pretty good field. I think maybe the COVID year was a little different just because there was nobody really around.

So it's definitely good being back and seeing the fans and kind of having corporate stuff out again and a little bit more activity around the tournament.

Q. Yesterday, Doug asked Jon Rahm what he was most excited about this year. Jon laughed and he said, I really wish I could be at the Masters Champions Dinner. You're hosting. So have you thought about your speech and how you're going to bring everyone together?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Not really. I've thought a little bit about the menu. I did. I don't know exactly what I'm going to serve, but I've put a little bit of thought into it.

Bring everybody together, meaning like?

Q. He was just saying, because obviously it's the first Masters post-schism LIV era, and he was saying it's going to be the first time that a lot of those people are in the same room together in a little while.

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah. I haven't seen many of the LIV guys. I saw Bubba on vacation this year, and I told him that I was just going to have a separate table for him in the corner by himself (laughing) only kidding, obviously.

In the world of golf, I think it's definitely a little sad what's happening. It's kind of weird this week. I get to my locker, and my locker's next to Cam Smith's locker, because he's a past champ here, and he's not here. So it's a little strange, but golf will move on. I think this stuff just takes time. Things will heal and we'll see what happens.

All that stuff is not really for me. I can only show up and just try and play good golf, and I'm not going to LIV anytime soon and so it's not of a concern for me at the moment.

Q. Where were you on vacation that you ran into Bubba?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah, we were on vacation in Tennessee. I didn't know he was going to be there and I just walked into this restaurant and him and Angie were sitting there and I was like, Hey, man, what's up. (Laughing.)

Q. When did you leave?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: A few days later.

Q. I meant the restaurant.


Q. Kind of along those lines, do you think it will be awkward at all? You got a couple past champions who are kind of irritated by all this.

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah and that makes sense. I think there's so many history with the game and the PGA TOUR and Augusta. I think for a few weeks a year we can put all that aside, especially with Augusta National being such a special place and with the history of the game and whatnot. I think we can put all our stuff aside and just get together for a fun meal, all in a room together and just kind of celebrate the game of golf and Augusta National and just hang out.

Q. As it relates to going forward, mostly 2024 and beyond and what this TOUR's going to look like and some of the meetings you've been involved in. What kind of voice do you have? Are you more of a listener than a speaker? How do you take a role at your age and what you've done so far in the game to make sure your input is heard or your thoughts are heard?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I think I'm more of a listener in these meetings. I wouldn't say that I'm a guy who is kind of leading the charge. But if there's a topic that I have something to say about I'll definitely speak up and I feel like I'm heard.

I don't know exactly how to put it. But, yeah, I think what when I have something to say I think I have a voice that's heard by a few guys. But I feel like we're all kind of moving in the same direction. So that's exciting for us as a TOUR.

I think the guys are really excited with what's to come in 2024 and this year's going to be fun with all the elevated tournaments. I think the TOUR's done a really good job of communicating with the players and kind of making some changes and getting things done. Like I said, we're excited for this year and for tournaments like this.

Q. What area is important to you going forward?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I just want the TOUR to be the best thing possible. The best product, best for the fans and the best tournaments. So I believe that the more often we can get the best players together playing against each other and it's going to be a lot of fun. I'm excited to get my next chance going down the stretch with Rory. I'm excited to compete against Sam and Patrick and all the guys that I kind of went down the stretch with last year. Had a few wins and a few seconds and I'm excited to go back and do it again.

THE MODERATOR: We've got a special guest with us he's got a question.

Q. What is the one tournament that, one tournament or course that you're looking forward to the most and the least?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: The least? Let me think. The least? The least is a challenging one.

The easy one for me is, the one I'm excited for the most is probably to go back to the Masters and go back to Augusta National, park in the champions parking lot and do all that fun stuff. That's going to be pretty surreal. Gets me a little bit emotional just thinking about it.

The one I like the least? Where did I miss the cut? Where did I miss the cut last year? Do you know?

JOHN BUSH: You did miss one?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah, I missed a couple.


SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: PGA. We're not going to Southern Hills. Where else? You'll find out? I would need some thinking. We get spoiled out here on TOUR. So places I would like to go back the least, there really isn't one. I get to live my dream of playing golf.

Q. Memphis.

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Memphis? I like Memphis. (Laughing.)

Q. Scottish Open.

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah. I like that one too. That's a fun week.

Q. I guess no answer.

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: No answer. We get spoiled out here. We play the best golf courses against the best competition and I get to live my dream playing out here on the PGA TOUR. So I'm just grateful for the opportunity.

Q. When did you first meet Meredith?


Q. When did you --


Q. How much golf did she know as a freshman?


Q. And how much did she learn? Has it been any great moments where she was utterly clueless about what you do?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I remember specifically when we dated in high school I got an opportunity -- I won the U.S. Junior in 2013. And in 2014 I had the opportunity to play in the Byron Nelson as a high school student. And Meredith, like I was at her house one day, we were hanging out with her dad or something and the commercial came on TV. And she was kind of looking around, she was like, Wait a minute. Isn't that next weekend? Isn't that what you're doing and I was like, Yeah, that's what I'm doing. She's like, Wow, that's cool. And I was like, Okay.

And she's learned fast. She's been around the game now for eight years? Yeah, eight years. Almost nine. It will be nine at the end of this year.

Q. Did you start dating as freshmen?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: We started dating our senior year. I had to woo her for a few years (smiling).

But, yeah, she's a student of the game. She's come to learn it. She's spent a lot of time around my parents who love golf and she's learning.

Q. Does she play?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: No. I got some great video of her at the wives event last year that is, it's bad.

Q. Why haven't we seen it?

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Because she probably won't let me put it out. (Laughing.)

JOHN BUSH: Scottie, as always we appreciate your time. Best of luck.

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Thanks y'all. Appreciate it.

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