KAPALUA, Hawaii—Scottie Scheffler is playing in this week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions for the first time. But he arrived on Maui with a heavy heart.
Or at least without a close companion by his side.
“Yeah, my trusty 3-wood cracked on Saturday on the range at Royal Oaks [in Dallas],” Scheffler said, adding that it was like losing a dog.
The club in question—a Nike VR Pro—was one that the 24-year-old has used since high school. It came out in 2011, and Nike doesn’t even make golf clubs anymore.
Three-woods are utilitarian in nature, but some pros have been known to treat them like Linus does his blanket, most notably Henrik Stenson. The Swede used a Diablo Octane Tour 3-wood for more than eight years before replacing it in 2019.
Scheffler’s Nike eclipsed that by a few years and goes back to his formative days as a teen, so any melancholy would be understandable. As for what was so special about it?
“It was really clean, not a lot of loft so I was able to flight it down pretty easily, and it was softer than the new 3-woods, and for me that’s important,” Scheffler said. “When I wanted to hit it far, I just teed it up a little higher, hit it higher on the face. I got to know the club really well, and for me I knew exactly what I needed to do with it each time.”
How does one get over the loss of such a dependable friend?
“I had my wife pick up about 10 3-woods from the house that were all backups,” Scheffler said. “She brought them to the range, and we found something that could work for the week.
“Right now, I got a Callaway one in there. We’ll see how it goes.”
Scheffler, the reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, shot a seven-under 66 on Friday at the Plantation Course, highlighted by a chip-in for eagle on the par-5 15th, following a run of three straight birdies. He’s at 10 under and four shots back of leader Harris English heading into the weekend.
It also puts Scheffler in position to make a bit of history in the event—he is only in the field because it was expanded to include those who reached the Tour Championship after a COVID-19 shortened 2019-20 season, meaning he could be the first player to make the winners-only event his first career victory on tour.
“This is a great place to start the year,” he said. “I hope to be here every year going forward.”
His old 3-wood would agree. RIP.