AUSTIN, Texas – It was a predictably emotional return to Augusta National for Scottie Scheffler last week.
The Masters champion went to Augusta National last Monday and Tuesday as part of a scouting trip that doubled as a stroll down memory lane.
“That was really one of the first times where winning the Masters felt real. Because we got back on property, I'd just come off the win at The Players, so our celebration kind of was just going to play Augusta,” Scheffler said Tuesday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, where he’s the defending champion. “That was really one of the first times where it felt real that I had won the Masters.”
Matches and tee times from the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship
Scheffler played the course twice with a group of friends, including his longtime swing coach Randy Smith, and said two changes since last year’s Masters stood out, including a new tee on the par-5 13th hole that’s added about 35 yards.
“I used to hit 3-wood there because I can sling hook a 3-wood. I can't sling hook a driver on purpose. The ball just doesn't spin enough,” he explained. “Now, I'll just hit driver kind of out towards the corner and try and use more of the contouring to get the ball that way. My driver is now going where my 3-wood kind of used to go.”
Scheffler was also asked about changes to the par-4 11th hole, which according to various reports will have fewer trees down the right side.
“I think what they're trying to do now is still give an opportunity to hit a great shot, because that's a really special hole with the way the green is shaped and you have those two mounds in the front,” he said. “Before, when you hit it up the right, it was kind of an automatic chip-out. Unless you hit it like way, way right. Now, there's a little bit less luck involved. Now, if you hit it over to the right, you're going to be in the fairway still, but you have three trees in your way and you can hit it over the trees, under the trees and it leaves an opportunity for a great shot.”
As for the menu for the Masters Champions Dinner that was revealed last week, Scheffler said the menu, that includes cheeseburger sliders, firecracker shrimp and Texas ribeye steaks, was a team effort.
“It was [manager Blake Smith], [wife] Meredith and me one day, we were kind of sitting around and it was like, OK, well it's probably time to figure out the menu,” he explained. “What are your favorite foods? It was like Meredith and I just started listing them off like steak, burgers, fried shrimp, mac and cheese, jalapeno cream corn.
“We talked to the chef at Augusta who kind of is the professional in the room, because I'm definitely not a professional when it comes to this stuff. He kind of helped us put it together, and I think we did a good job. It's definitely not going to be on any nutritionist's plan.”