A captain’s pick in 2021, Scottie Scheffler is now United States’ No. 1

A year later, Scheffler will occupy a vastly different role on the U.S. Team. He arrives at Quail Hollow as the top-ranked player in the world, the reigning Masters champion and recently-named PGA TOUR Player of the Year, accomplishments that make it easy to forget that just a year ago he was the lowest-ranked U.S. player at the Ryder Cup after receiving one of Steve Stricker’s final captain’s picks.
But his upset of Jon Rahm, then the No. 1 player in the world and U.S. Open champion, was one of the most memorable results from the U.S. Team’s record-setting rout. Scheffler birdied the first four holes en route to a 4-and-3 win. That win, which some joked should count as his first TOUR victory, served as a catalyst for Scheffler’s success in 2022.
“I think probably having the vote of my peers was definitely a huge kind of confidence boost for me. I think there was a few guys that really wanted me on the team, and I was able to perform well under that immense pressure,” Scheffler said about last year’s Ryder Cup. “You feel what it’s like in the heat of battle, and when you go home and practice, you’re actually able to prepare for that because you know exactly how it feels on the biggest stage.
“I think going into this year I had that experience and I knew what it felt like in those moments, and I was able to perform well.”
Scheffler didn’t have to sweat a phone call this year. His spot on the team has been secure since he won at Augusta National in April.
This is just his second time representing the United States in international team competition as a professional, but he’ll be one of the leaders on the youngest U.S. Team in Presidents Cup history.
U.S. Captain Davis Love III says Scheffler occupies “a spot of stability” on the roster.
“Scottie has that quiet, calm leadership or confidence,” Love said. “You know he is going to be willing to do whatever it takes. He’s a legendary practicer. You know he’s going to be prepared.
“I’ve watched him in a couple settings just sit back and let everyone else be the center of attention. Then, when it’s time to say something to sum it up or support his teammates, he’s always positive and he never says anything negative or unsupportive.”
It was Scheffler’s well-rounded game and ability to pair with a variety of players, in addition to his top-10s in the last three majors, that aided Scheffler’s Ryder Cup candidacy last year. But the team’s leadership also saw an ascendant player, who after a standout amateur career became the 2019 Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year and 2020 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year.
“A few people said he was about to bust loose,” said Love, an assistant on last year’s Ryder Cup team. “Then you put him out there and you watch him play and he played like a veteran.”