Hero World Challenge

Hero World Challenge winner Scottie Scheffler learned a lesson to close out 2023. Here’s what it means for 2024


Mike Ehrmann

NASSAU, Bahamas — Scottie Scheffler finished off the Hero World Challenge—and his year—in a manner befitting the No. 1 player in the world yet something that had been missing since he captured the Players Championship in March. Thanks to a season-long exhibition of splendid ball-striking, Scheffler piled up an incredible 17 top-10 finishes in 23 events without missing a cut. And yet, he had only two wins in 2023 to show for his efforts.

Now he has three.

With a bogey-free four-under-par 68 at Albany, the mighty Texan posted a three-stroke victory in the 20-man unofficial event hosted by Tiger Woods.

The win comes after runner-up finishes to Viktor Hovland the last two years here. Beginning the day with a three-stroke lead over Matt Fitzpatrick, Scheffler cruised home in 20-under 268, three ahead of Sepp Straka, who tried to make it interesting with a closing 64 but simply started too far adrift. Justin Thomas, vying to remain in the top 30 in the world to qualify for early season signature events on the PGA Tour, was another stroke back after a 67.

“I'm very proud of how I played today,” a scruffy-faced Scheffler said. “Ted [Scott, his caddie] and I did a good job out there staying patient, kept the ball in play, gave myself a lot of looks. I didn't feel like I gave the rest of the field much of, I don't know if much of a chance is the right word, but I didn't make any bogeys, so there wasn't a ton of mistakes for them to kind of use as momentum. It was more of make them come and catch me kind of day. I did a really good job of not trying to force things, not trying to do anything outside of my comfort zone.”

Speaking of comfort, Scheffler won $1 million to cap off a year in which the 27-year-old collected a record $21 million on the PGA Tour. Not that anyone is counting.

Scheffler insists that he doesn’t really count wins, though he won't deny the enjoyment from them. “I try not to place too much of my identity of what I shoot on the golf course or how many tournaments I've won,” he said. “Sometimes when you really struggle with something it kind of helps you reset to remember why I come out here to play this game every week and why I love to do it.”

He loves it because he’s really good at it. But, yes, he has struggled, too.

It bears pointing out that Scheffler avoided a three-putt this week on the slick greens at Albany. He began working with Phil Kenyon on his putting prior to the Ryder Cup and came armed this week with a new putter. It’s the worst-kept secret in golf that Scheffler was thwarted throughout 2023 by substandard performance on the greens. He can be forgiven for harboring a woulda-coulda-shoulda mentality.

But that wouldn’t be him. He just knows that this win was the product of a complete game.

“Coming into this week I felt like I was in a good spot, but I didn't really know because I hadn't really played much tournament golf,” said Scheffler, who had been off since the Ryder Cup, where he went a tearful 0-2-2. “Got off to a pretty slow start the first day, but ever since I think probably after the first six holes I played some really, really great golf. Yeah, that [putting] why I'm walking out of here with a win versus coming out not with a win. I'm very pleased with how I putted, I feel like I rolled it solid. It's definitely nice to see some early results with the stuff that Phil and I have been working on.”

While his consistency has been impressive—and puts him firmly in the conversation for repeating as PGA Tour Player of the Year—Scheffler won’t deny that there is satisfaction in closing out a victory, even the unofficial variety. “I like winning, winning is a tremendous amount of fun. It's definitely nice to win and also nice to be consistent,” he said. “Finishing second is not nearly as good a feeling as finishing first.”

Scheffler came into the week feeling refreshed after setting his clubs aside for a spell. He will tell you that he is guilty sometimes of working too hard—and that definitely was the case as he battled to refine his putting much of the year. Now he’ll take another month off before the new season begins at the Sentry at Kapalua Resort in Maui.

The difference is that he’ll be equally refreshed but also more confident, given the proceedings at Albany.


Scottie Scheffler talks to tournament host Tiger Woods upon receiving the tournament trophy for winning the Hero World Challenge on Sunday.

Mike Ehrmann

“It's nice to finish off the year with a win, and it will be good as we go home and get ready for Christmas and get ready for Kapalua to kind of have the momentum of this week,” Scheffler said.

The last thing this guy needs, besides another million dollars, is momentum. But he’s got both. In what has been a strange year in golf, this seems just about right.