Scottie Scheffler is the favorite to win The Masters in 2023, and defend his title. This would make him only the fourth person to ever win back to back Masters, joining Tiger Woods, Nick Faldo, and the Golden Bear himself, Jack Nicklaus.
Pretty impressive company.
But can he cement his name in the history books this year?
Pretty much every golf betting site in the US is putting the American pro at the top according to betting experts at Bookies Bonuses, with players like Rory Mcilroy and Jon Rahm even with or close behind his odds.
So it seems like Scheffler would be a lock to don the Green Jacket again this weekend at Augusta. But then again, even Arnold Palmer could’t win two consecutive Masters.
Sure, Palmer ended up winning four different times in alternating years from his first victory in 1958 through to his final green jacket in 1964, but Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player stopped his title defenses on multiple occasions, and there is no doubt Rory Mcilroy is hungry to finally win at Augusta.
When Tiger won two consecutive Masters at the turn of the century, he was playing some of the best golf the world had ever seen, and was second to none when he walked out in red on Sunday, but even he only managed this incredible feat once at Augusta, with his three other victories spread over more than two decades.
Nick Faldo needed playoff holes in both consecutive years to win back to back masters, which only happened because Scott Hoch missed a short putt to seal the win the first time Faldo won at the Masters.
And in all three cases, the year after winning back to back, these legendary players couldn’t even crack the top ten….
Back to Back Masters Winners History:
- Tiger Woods - 2001, 2002, 2003 (15th)
- Nick Faldo - 1989, 1990, 1991 (12th)
- Jack Nicklaus - 1965, 1966, 1967 (missed the cut)
So what makes it so difficult to defend a Master title?
It’s golf, and the Masters is the pinnacle of the sport with all the best players swinging for a chance to wear the Green on Sunday.
There isn’t much more to say than that, since there have been dozens of times players have been incredibly close to repeating their Master wins, only to fall back by a stroke or two on the final day to a player that is just ever so slightly more focused.
Jordan Speith is a great example of this, after a strong win in 2015, he finished second in 2016 after a bad final round which handed Danny Willet the win.
“Golf [truely] is a game of inches. The most important are the six inches between your ears.” There is no better summary of what impacts a golfer's ability to win more than the mental game, just like Arnold Palmer said in that iconic quote. And it holds especially true when you remember Palmer led The Masters into the final hole in 1961, looking to defend his title, but double-bogeyed to drop a shot behind Gary Player who ended up winning as a result.
The pressure impacting both mental and physical performances of these athletes during any tournament is immense, so it’s no wonder that a player looking to defend the most sought after golf title in the world would feel a little pressure.
All the hype surrounding Scottie Scheffler over the past year will also be hanging over him, with the idea of ‘how long can he stay on top?’ being the looming question heard over and over. So, will he be able to stand on the course, and block out everything long enough to win again?
I guess we’ll find out this weekend.
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