Scottie Scheffler, who has been world number one for around a month and was crowned Masters champion this year, like many other golfers, idolised Tiger Woods as he grew up. When Scheffler was younger, it was Woods who reigned supreme. But who would have thought years down the line that he’d have a significant impact on his current success on the PGA circuit?
A moment Scheffler had dreamed of for many years presented itself two years ago, after the 25-year-old happened to play alongside Woods in the final round of the 2020 Masters. But, rather than let the occasion take over, Scheffler used it as an opportunity to study Woods close up, gleaning as many insights into his game as possible.
After besting Woods by five, Scheffler came away from the course impressed and intrigued by the precision iron play on show. They say that elite sportspeople will watch their peers and try and integrate elements of what they do well into their own game. And that’s certainly the case here. But, rather than specific techniques, Scheffler had his eye on the irons that Woods was using, believing it was these that allowed the sporting icon to hit the ball so well.
The set of irons Woods was using on the day were bespoke P7TWs. They were released in 2018 and had a unique style that improves flight and control. Prior to this, Scheffler had been running with P730s, but this was Tiger Woods, and the consensus is that if they’re good enough for him, they’re good enough for everyone. But, the proof was always going to be in the pudding, and using the P7TWs in testing to get a feel for them was the strategy that Scheffler put in place.
And, it’s fair to say that it didn’t take Scheffler long at all to realise that his intuition was about to pay dividends. Yes, you could suggest he was taking a bit of a risk just switching irons because Woods uses them. But immediately, improvements to his game were recognisable during testing.
Scheffler suggested that he has significantly more control over the flight of the ball when using the P7TWs. It opened up the shooting range further, providing more variability, which is always going to be of great benefit to players aiming to take their game to the next level. And, let’s face it, with four wins in the bag already this season, and a successful Masters tournament, switching up the irons has proven to be a masterstroke.
Sometimes they say you shouldn’t meet your heroes. But, if Scheffler hadn’t played the final round of the 2020 Masters with his, would he have decided to try out a different set of irons? And would he be the current world number one and defending Masters champion? I guess we’ll never know. But we’re sure the American was glad to go against the cliché.