THE MODERATOR: Scottie Scheffler joins us this afternoon at the 105th PGA Championship. Welcome to Oak Hill. Two wins already for you in 2023. How are you feeling about your game coming into this week?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Feeling good. I had a good prep week last week in Dallas and I felt like I played pretty solid. A few things that I want to clean up, but game feels in a good spot.
Q. You and Jon have kind of put some distance between yourselves and the rest of the field, at least algorithmically. What he’s doing, does that motivate you and light a fire under you?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I’m not really sure. I definitely want to play well, and there’s various things that can motivate me. I wouldn’t say Jon doesn’t motivate me. I think any time you see guys playing really good golf, you want to be doing the same thing. So whether it’s Jason Day beating me last week down the stretch or Jon just beating the crap out of me at a couple different tournaments this year, it’s always motivating when you don’t do what you want to do, and that’s usually trying to win the tournament. So, yeah, I’d say a little bit for sure.
Q. Last week you said there were a few things you wanted to clean up. What are those things?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I didn’t swing it as well as I would have liked to on the weekend, and then that’s pretty much. I felt like I hit a lot of good putts last week and so I feel like my game is in a really good spot.
Q. You’ve talked about being able to live with whatever the result is, and you’ve certainly displayed that, but you haven’t been outside the top 12 since last October. Doesn’t that influence your expectations of yourself?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I mean, not really. That’s a great stretch of golf. I think the last time I really had a poor start, like you said, was in October, so that’s good. When I show up to a tournament I expect to do my best and try and play well. Most importantly, I just try and have a good attitude and go out there and play. I try not to place too much of an emphasis on the result. For me it’s more about the preparation and showing up to the tournament and having a good attitude and then going out there and competing.
Q. What did you pull out of last week as far as do you like playing the week before a major and just kind of rolling into it competition-wise?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah, so coming in with good momentum. I took a good amount of time off in the three weeks that I had off, so I was kind of coming into last week a touch rustier than I normally would be, and I played really good the first two days, and it was odd for me to have struggled a little bit there on Saturday. But I came back and played good on Sunday. I feel like my game is in a good spot. My swing feels like it normally does, which is good. Like I said, just hoping to clean up just a few little things here and there, and looking forward to trying to tackle this golf course this week. Q. What’s your impressions of this course?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: It’s pretty difficult. There’s only two par-5s and both of them are 600 yards. We played yesterday and I hit the fairway on 4, and I had to hit like a 50-yard hook around the trees to get to the green with a 3-wood. That was kind of a telltale sign, especially if you’re playing No. 3, which is a 3-iron to a green that looks like you can barely keep a 7-iron on it. It’s definitely a really hard course, but there’s a few holes where there’s some opportunities and then there’s a few holes where you’ve kind of got to strap in and try and make.
Q. I was curious, along those lines, does it remind you of any other tournament you’ve played so far, any other venue?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Not really. To me, it’s a really — this one is just a really good major championship setup. The rough is very penal. The fairways are really firm, so they’re hard to hit. We should get, I think, a few different types of weather this week. It’ll be the usual challenges: thick rough, deep bunkers. Just try and stay patient out there and play a few good rounds.
Q. Given tomorrow is going to be kind of nasty, have you adjusted your practice schedule as a result?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Not really. Usual Wednesday is a pretty light day for me anyway. I’m used to my schedule on TOUR where I go out early in the pro-am and finish early and go home and try and get some rest. Tomorrow I’ll adjust to where I’ll start a couple hours later than I normally would, so I may get home a few hours later, but I’m still going to take it pretty light tomorrow.
Q. We’re like one year into this new era with LIV and the PGA TOUR, and knowing what you know how, where do you see this heading?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: See what headed?
Q. Professional golf.
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I mean, I don’t really know. I’m focused on what I’m doing, and that’s trying to have a good attitude and play good golf. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about too much of that stuff. For me, I’m just trying to sit up here — right now I’m focused on PGA Championship and having a good week here.
Q. Schedule changes, all those things do affect your golf —
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah, schedule changes do. It’s exciting. I think it’s good that we’re getting so many tournaments where I’m getting to play against the best players in the world, and the elevated events for us have been a ton of fun and we’ve had some good battles and had a lot of great champions. So it’s been a fun stretch for us.
Q. You talked about a good attitude a couple of times. What does a good attitude look like for you or how do you define a good attitude?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I think approaching shots the right way. I think early in my career when I either missed cuts or didn’t have good starts, usually when I missed cuts it was only by a couple shots, and I would attribute a lot of that to how I approached things mentally. I’ve learned over time to stay more patient in tournaments. You get to a golf course like this and it’s so challenging and you may make a few bogeys early and try and force things, then make a couple more bogeys. Mostly it’s just approaching shots the right way with the right intensity, and so that’s not like a frustration, but it’s showing up on Thursday, treating it like it’s Sunday afternoon, and being ready to go.
Q. You were too intense or you were not intense enough?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I would say early in my career, I wasn’t intense enough to start. I think I made too many mistakes early in the week to where I was kind of on the outside looking in and I didn’t have as many opportunities to win tournaments. On then on the flip side of that, once I made a few silly mistakes then I would try and force it. So it was kind of a little snowball effect. I’ve showed up to tournaments now being more prepared and more ready and more focused on what I’m trying to do.
Q. You guys have played against some really strong fields, major-like fields, and you’ve played some really strong courses. I’m thinking Bay Hill that one year where it felt like a U.S. Open type thing —
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I didn’t play this year at Bay Hill.
Q. Well, you’ve played some major courses where scoring was pretty low. How much when you get to something like this — and I’m going to take your eyes completely off Oak Hill for a minute — when you get to a major, is the recognition that it is a major get into your heads? Because you’ve played some major-like tournaments. You play a lot more than you used to.
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah, that’s true. I haven’t really thought about that very much. I think any time you show up at a major everything is a little bit different, whether it’s like you get a new badge or little stuff like that. For this one it’s a new golf course for me, which is strange with it being my fourth year on TOUR. The majors always have a little bit of a different spot in our heads. They’re the ones you always circle on your schedule and it’s a career-defining tournament and all that.
Q. Is it in your head at all, knowing that it’s a career-defining week for you?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Not really.
Q. No pressure or anything? I’m just asking.
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: There’s never any pressure at a golf tournament, right? I think the majors with all the history and everything that goes on here, there’s always a little bit of a different feel. I think for me as a player it’s exciting. It’s exciting to play a tournament that’s so old and with all the history and all the great champions. It’s a tournament that I always grew up watching. For me showing up at the majors is always a lot of fun.
Q. Do you get any free stuff this week?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yardage book.
Q. That’s it?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah.
Q. Obviously you said it’s a really hard and challenging course. On top of that with the wind, is there anything specifically that you’re changing with your game today, especially in the practice round, that you’re kind of going into Thursday with?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I wouldn’t say that I’m changing anything. I just think the wind makes the golf course even more challenging, especially when you get crosswinds. When the fairways are so firm and you get a high wind like this, it’s actually hard to hit the ball with enough curve to keep the ball straight without the wind taking it. And when it the wind takes it it starts curving, and then it lands on the fairway and starts moving the other direction. So the fairways play even smaller with how firm they are, and so just makes things more difficult.
Q. With the pollen a lot of players complaining about the allergies is that impacting you at all?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I usually have bad allergies, but so far I’m doing all right. Hopefully that continues as the week goes on.
Q. Have you spent much time in western New York before, and are there any experiences you’re kind of looking to check off your bucket list in the next couple days?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I’ve only been here once. I played the Monroe Invitational. My roommate in college, Gavin Hall, was from here, and so we came up, stayed at his house. It was the only tournament that I recall withdrawing from. So I only played one round. It was a quick trip up here. Hopefully this tournament lasts a little bit longer than one round for me.
Q. Why did you withdraw?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I woke up with a big crick in my neck and it was really cold here and I played the first round and I’m never one to withdraw. I’ll limp in. I want to finish and I want to compete. But my dad ended up — he was here, and he ended up calling my coach, and Randy called me on the phone and was like, yeah, you really just need to be mature here and come home. It was like 50 degrees, the wind was blowing 20, and I had the U.S. Open next week. I listened to Randy.
Q. I feel like a lot of the time it would work the other way around, where the dad or the coach would say you’ve got to finish, but have you always been a guy that you have no interest in WDing from anything?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: It’s the only tournament that I remember withdrawing from. I don’t think I’ve ever done that. Maybe someone on the internet can find if I have before. That’s the only one that I recall.
Q. I know for major weeks it’s probably very routine, but on normal weeks do you go out and do things during a tournament?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Usually go out to dinner. At majors — I don’t treat any tournaments different than any other ones when it comes to like my weekly preparation.
Q. Do you travel with more people or stay with people for majors that you don’t normally?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: No. So that would be something that I would really try to avoid, is having the majors feel even more different than they already are. I remember when I played — I learned this at a young age. I played the Nelson when I was in high school, and my parents actually got some advice that they wanted — I think it was from Randy or Rocky or somebody — but they told them, my parents, to keep everything as normal as possible; don’t make it feel any different. We didn’t have anybody staying at the house. It was just us. It was just like a normal week. When it comes to major championships it would be something that I’d want to keep as normal as possible. So we’re staying with the same people we usually stay with and keeping things as regular as possible, and whether that’s going out to dinner or anything like that, it’s just a normal week.
Q. Your great consistency this year, I’m sure there’s a lot of elements that lead into that, but year over year, is there any part of your game that you look at or anything in your game that is just significantly better than a year ago?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I’m not really sure. I’m always trying to kind of improve across the board and address weaknesses. That’s something that I’m constantly working on. It’s nice to see that it’s paying off and having a lot of good results. I think that’s something you’ve always seen from the best players out here, is them showing up often on leaderboards. So I’m proud that I’ve been able to do that for the last few months, and hoping to continue that going forward.
Q. You said this is a new course for you. Any hole that you’re struggling with?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: No. I’ve only played each of them once. I’m sure I’ll struggle on a hole here towards the end of the week. But no trends so far.
Q. Is there any hole that you really enjoy playing that feels good?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I think what’s good about the golf course is there’s a lot of opportunity, and so what I mean by that is when you hit good shots, you get rewarded. So when you drive it well in the fairway, the fairways are firm and the ball is going to run out. Even if the hole is 500 yards, you should have, as long as you’re not playing into the wind, somewhat of a scorable club, whether it’s a 7- or 8-iron coming into the green. So you get rewarded for hitting good shots, and if I miss the fairway on one of those holes that’s 500 yards, I’m going to be hacking something out of the rough and probably not going to be able to get to the green in two. So I think it’ll be a good golf course where it will separate good golf from bad golf.
Q. One LIV question for you. I had a sense there was great curiosity amongst public press, even some players, about how this was going to work when LIV players and TOUR players got together at Augusta. Is there any sense that having Augusta go the way it did that it’s kind of normalized now, or did it feel normal to you at Augusta?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I think it felt normal for me at Augusta.
Q. Were you at all curious going into Augusta, whether it’s tee times or —
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Not really.
Q. Are you curious about anything? SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah, I’m a curious guy.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks for the time, Scottie. We appreciate it.
Courtesy of: PGA of America, Oak Hill Country Club, ASAP Sports