3 guarantees: Death, taxes and Scottie Scheffler at the Masters

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Sports wagering carries inherent risk, but, then again, there are riskier things you could do with your money than making sure 51 weeks from now you bet on Scottie Scheffler to win the Masters.

Heck, bet him the next 10 years.

A dominant Scheffler won his second green jacket here Sunday, shooting a 68 to finish 11-under while everyone around him splashed and crashed through the back nine. Ludvig Åberg finished second, four strokes back. Scheffler beat everyone else by seven or more.

The tournament was essentially locked up when Scheffler tapped in for birdie on 14. Or maybe it was even before that; the man had a nine-hole stretch Sunday with six birdies.

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 14: Scottie Scheffler of the United States and caddie Ted Scott celebrate on the 18th green after winning the 2024 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 14, 2024 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Scottie Scheffler and caddie Ted Scott celebrate on the 18th green after winning the 2024 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. (Warren Little/Getty Images) (Warren Little via Getty Images)

It may be absurd — or absurdly premature — to think a guy who now has two Masters championships could one day challenge Jack Nicklaus’ record six. Yet there may have never been a player with a more perfect mentality, if not game, for conquering Augusta National.

This place is famous for its final-round pressure that has rattled even legends. Yet the 27-year-old Scheffler walks around here staring at his feet and noticing nothing, like he’s just out on a country stroll.

The more the intensity increased, the calmer he appeared. He bombed drives (305.7). He drained putts (1.5 average per hole). He was his typical master of efficiency here, scoring par or better on 87.5 percent of his 72 holes. He's been par or better in 18 of his 20 career rounds at Augusta.

In 2022, he won his first Masters in similar fashion, cruising almost unchallenged through the final round as Cam Smith faded. Scheffler wound up winning that one by three strokes.

The Masters isn’t really about the golf. There are dozens of players who play golf well enough to win. It’s all the things that happen between the golf that separates the champions from the pretenders.

“I feel like I'm as in control of my emotions as I've ever been, which is a good place to be,” Scheffler said. “I feel like I'm maturing as a person on the golf course, which is a good place to be.”

The man is unflappable, unconcerned, maybe even unaware.

“I was very focused out there,” he said.

As if possibly winning the Masters wasn’t enough to rattle him, Scheffler knew his wife, Meredith, was back in Texas, expecting the couple's first baby any day — or any minute — now. He vowed to leave the tournament if needed — a private jet was waiting in case she went into labor.

It didn’t appear to affect Scheffler. Nothing appears to affect Scheffler.

“That's a testament to how good of a head space I was in,” Scheffler said. “I wasn't thinking about it that much. I was doing my best to stay in the moment, stay calm, execute shots.”

This week will be his 48th consecutive where he is ranked No. 1 in the world. He hasn’t posted a round above par since last November, a ridiculous 40 of them in a row (Tiger Woods holds the PGA Tour record at 52 set from 2000-01).

Scheffler was the picture of consistency here this week. Just nine bogeys and one double. He hit 79 percent of fairways and 64 percent of greens in regulation. He three-putted just twice. It’s all in line with his five-year Masters averages.

There is no reason to think anything will change, even with fatherhood on the horizon.

“I’m going to continue to put in the work, keep my head down,” Scheffler said.

Jon Rahm, of Spain, puts the green jacket on winner Scottie Scheffler after the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club Sunday, April 14, 2024, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Jon Rahm puts the green jacket on winner Scottie Scheffler after Scheffler's Masters vicotry on Sunday at Augusta National. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Only Horton Smith, who won two of the first three Masters (1934, 1936), became a repeat champ quicker than Scheffler’s five starts.

As for age, Nicklaus won his third at 26. So did Tiger Woods, who has five green jackets. So, in that regard, Scheffler is behind schedule. Give it a year or so though. This guy doesn’t seem prone to massive swings of fortune.

Plus, with all due respect to the rest of the golf world, the competition isn’t exactly crushing right now.

The PGA/LIV split seems to have distracted players as much as it divided the sport. Scheffler spent Sunday brushing aside a player with six career PGA Tour victories (Max Homa) and another with just one (Aberg, albeit a 24-year-old with a lot of potential).

Collin Morikawa faded at Amen Corner. Bryson DeChambeau never got going. Last year’s Masters winner, Jon Rahm, finished 9-over. Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson didn’t even make the cut. It was the same for the reigning U.S. Open (Wyndham Clark) and British Open (Brian Harman) champs.

Scheffler’s footwork on his swing is a golf coach's nightmare, but he has so much confidence in the result that he’s resisted change throughout his life. He admits he hates to lose more than he loves to win and that drives him to master not just the physical skills, but the mental and emotional ones.

Boring works. Boring pays. Especially at Augusta.