Scottie Scheffler’s one previous appearance in Western New York ended with his only WD. Here’s what happened

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Scottie Scheffler was complimentary of Oak Hill Country Club during the pre-tournament festivities for the 105th PGA Championship on Tuesday, pulling out stock responses about the fairness of the Donald Ross design and how the course is manageable if you play from the short stuff.

And what’s not to like about Oak Hill? The storied track is hosting this major for a fourth time, with the most recent playing just a decade ago. The only other course to host the event as often is Southern Hills, the site of Justin Thomas’ victory in 2022, which has done so five times.

“I think what’s good about the golf course is there’s a lot of opportunity, and so what I mean by that is when you hit good shots, you get rewarded,” Scheffler said of the East Course at Oak Hill. “So when you drive it well in the fairway, the fairways are firm and the ball is going to run out. Even if the hole is 500 yards, you should have, as long as you’re not playing into the wind, somewhat of a scorable club, whether it’s a 7- or 8-iron coming into the green.”

But while his impression of the golf course seems to be favorable, pardon the six-time PGA Tour champ if his previous memories of the region as a whole aren’t quite as warm and fuzzy.

Scottie Scheffler hits onto a green during a practice round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Oak Hill Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

Back while playing at the University of Texas, Scheffler made a trip to Rochester to compete in the storied Monroe Invitational, an amateur event that takes place just a few miles to the southeast of Oak Hill at Monroe Golf Club.

The Monroe has crowned some big names as champions through the years, with Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley capturing the title in 1976 and subsequent winners including PGA Tour players Jeff Sluman (1981), Chris DiMarco (1988), D.J. Trahan (2002), Dustin Johnson (2007) and Taylor Pendrith (2014).

Scheffler’s roommate in Austin was Gavin Hall, who hailed from the Rochester area and invited him to make the trip to Western New York for the 2016 Monroe, where the weather can be wildly unpredictable.

“We came up, stayed at his house,” Scheffler said. “I woke up with a big crick in my neck and it was really cold here and I played the first round
and I’m never one to withdraw. I’ll limp in. I want to finish
and I want to compete.

“But my dad … he was here, and he ended up calling my coach, and Randy (Smith) called me on the phone and was like, yeah, you really just need to be mature here and come home. It was like 50 degrees, the wind was blowing 20, and I had the U.S. Open next week. I listened to Randy.”

Scheffler insists it was the only time he’s ever withdrawn from an event.

“I only played one round. It was a quick trip up here,” Scheffler said. “Hopefully, this tournament lasts a little bit longer than one round for me.”

Nothing about Scheffler’s trend line would indicate his second stay in Western New York will be a short one. The Dallas native has been in the top dozen at each of his last 13 events, with victories at the WM Phoenix Open and the Players Championship already under his belt.

And if anything, he’s eager to make amends for that one failed appearance in the area, hoping to add a second major to his 2022 Masters victory.

“There’s never any pressure at a golf tournament, right?” he said with a smile. “I think the majors with all the history and everything that goes on here, there’s always a little bit of a different feel. I think for me as a player it’s exciting. It’s exciting to play a tournament that’s so old and with all the history and all the great champions.

“It’s a tournament that I always grew up watching. For me showing up at the majors is always a lot of fun.”

Generated by Feedzy