The Players Championship: Scottie Scheffler’s 88-year-old grandma walks every hole of his dominant win

(CNN) They say a grandma knows best. Scottie Scheffler, newly crowned The Players Championship winner, would wholeheartedly agree.

Scheffler’s grandmother, Mary, couldn’t have picked a better week to follow her grandson through all 72 holes of a tournament.

A dominant win sealed a dream Sunday for Scheffler at TPC Sawgrass in Florida as he reclaimed his world No. 1 spot from Jon Rahm and secured him a $4.5 million share of a record $25 million in prize money.

The 26-year-old American finished five strokes ahead of England’s Tyrrell Hatton, the biggest win at the event, dubbed the “fifth major,” since Stephen Ames won by six strokes in 2006.

It’s a sixth PGA Tour win in a remarkable 13 months for the reigning Masters champion, made all the more sweet by many of his family members watching from the sidelines. And at the last green some gathered to embrace the new champion; Mrs Meredith, mother, father and of course grandmother.

The 88-year-old made the 20-minute journey from her home in Florida to follow her grandson’s progress social media shots shows her walking between the holes.

“It’s pretty impressive that she’s walking so many holes out here, she’s a soldier,” Scheffler told reporters.

“I really don’t know what to say. She had a tough year last year when grandpa died and we have an uncle who is quite ill and I’m just glad we can kind of enjoy it all together. “

Though their duties for the day weren’t over, when asked how he would celebrate, Scheffler said.

“Maybe grandma has some food at home,” he added.

“I know she has dessert. We’ll see what’s in store.”

illustrious company

Scheffler didn’t do his grandmother any favors with the blistering pace he maintained at TPC Sawgrass all week.

After starting Sunday’s final round with a two-shot lead over Australia’s Min Woo Lee, the American broke away from the field with a run of five straight birdies from the eighth hole. A bogey on the 14th caused some scares, but Scheffler came home with four straight birdies to shoot three-under 69 for the round and 17-under overall.

Even a historic finish from Hatton wasn’t enough to match Scheffler’s score. The 31-year-old, who was targeting his second PGA Tour victory after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2020, shot seven birdies down the back nine – including the last five holes – and posted a seven-under 65.

In doing so, the Englishman equaled the tournament record for a low back nine score of 29 at TPC Sawgrass, according to the PGA Tour. After starting the day in 26th place, his late success secured him $2.725 million in second-place prize money, with Viktor Hovland and Tom Hoge finishing two shots behind.

Hatton dazzled over his last nine holes.

Scheffler also made history. After his first major triumph in Augusta last year, he is only the third player, after Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, to hold both the Masters and Players championship titles at the same time.

With 33 majors and five Players Championships, the two form an illustrious company.

“A very special group of people. We could add all our majors and players together and I’ve got two now and they’ve got a lot more than that,” Scheffler said, laughing.

“Every time you’re mentioned in the same breath as Tiger and Jack, that’s very special. I am very grateful for that.”

Scheffler hits a bunker on the 16th hole in the final round.

master mission

The win continues Scheffler’s stellar start to 2023 and marks his second win after defending his title at the WM Phoenix Open in February.

That triumph had seen Scheffler retake world first place from Rory McIlroy, only for Rahm to overtake the American a week later with victory – already his third of the year – at the Genesis Invitational.

But the Spaniard’s fourth-place hopes were dashed early on at TPC Sawgrass when he retired after round one on Thursday due to illness after opening with a one-under-71.

Meanwhile, McIlroy endured an unusually hot weekend, shooting 76 and 73 en route to missing the cut at a PGA Tour event for the first time since the FedEx St. Jude Championship in August 2022.

For the new World No. 1, attention now turns to whether he can defend his green jacket in Augusta next month.

“I’m just comfortable with where my game is,” said Scheffler.

“I feel like I’m improving. I’m definitely learning more and the more you can compete and be in the moments. I’d say probably the most valuable thing is knowing how you’re feeling and being able to prepare for it.

“Going to the Masters is going to be a fun week. Champions Dinner, there’s going to be a lot of fun stuff I can do this week, but until we start on Thursday, everyone starting right probably won’t have much of an impact.”

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