Q.What are you working on right now in your putting?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I’m still doing a little bit of the technical stuff. Improving the setup, improving the stroke mechanics. The ball coming off my blade right now feels really good. It’s nice seeing greens like this. The poa (type of grass) last week can be challenging to figure out where you’re at with your putting, and getting on the pure greens like this this week, it’s a bit different but good.
Q.How important is pre-shot routine for you on the greens compared to the actual stroke mechanics?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I would say I try to be as natural as possible, whether I’m hitting a full shot or a putt. A lot of that is just having the same routine that I do over and over again.
I would say that’s a big part of it. I’m definitely not thinking about my stroke when I’m on the course. I’m just trying to be as athletic as possible and just hit good putts.
Q.As you’ve been working on your putting over the last year or so, have you changed that pre-shot routine at all?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I’d say a decent amount. I’ve fiddled around with it a little bit, just trying to be reactive and athletic. I think at times last year I could have probably overthought things a little bit, trying to force the ball into the hole.
Right now, I’m treating it more like I would my full swing where I’m trying to hit good putts and not really worrying about whether or not the ball is going to go in the hole.
Q.After the tennis player Jannik Sinner won the Australian Open, videos surfaced of him putting his trophy through the X-ray machine in the Dubai airport, which got me to thinking, you guys get some pretty big hardware. How does that work? Do they send you the trophies? Have you ever had any weird trophy mishaps getting it home?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Getting it home, not really. Usually after the tournament you take a bunch of pictures and sign a bunch of stuff and do a bunch of media. You kind of lose the trophy usually.
Q.You lose it?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah, it’s like at HERO this year, I think we were leaving to the airport to go home, and I was like, huh, I wonder where the trophy is. They ended up sending it a couple weeks later in the mail.
I think this tournament is the same way where I don’t ever really leave tournaments with the trophy. I think maybe the only one I actually left with was — maybe PLAYERS, but I don’t even know if I did there. Masters you leave with the jacket, which is nice. That one — I wasn’t going to give that back.
Q.Do they make it through the mail in shipping in one piece? Especially that HERO trophy is humongous.
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I was about to say, the HERO one they didn’t send the whole big thing. I just got like the top part. If any of them have been sent broken, my manager would probably know the answer to that. I don’t know if I would ever receive one that was broken. I don’t think I have. I may have broken one, but I don’t think they would send me a broken
Q.What would you say makes the Phoenix Open tournament special?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I just think the crowds. I think getting to play the back nine here is really special. There’s a lot of excitement always. Like I said, getting to play the pro-am here is always fun. You get paired with fun people. It’s just a good time. It’s a nice change of pace for us as players.
I think sometimes we can get a little bit too serious with ourselves, and so it’s fun coming out here — this morning you come to warm up on the driving range and the music is so loud I can barely even hear myself think out on the driving range. I’m like, what is this place. It’s crazy. It’s a lot different than the stuff we play throughout the year, but it’s a lot of fun.
Q.It seems like every week you tee it up you kind of have a chance to win. Obviously it’s very hard to win out here. I’m wondering internally what that trade-off is between maybe frustration coming up short versus a sense of accomplishment playing so well the entire week.
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: I was about to say, there’s always frustration I think when you don’t win tournaments. Whether I finish 50th or second, I’m going to be frustrated that I didn’t win.
But I’ve definitely been proud of how I’ve put myself in position over the last couple years, and I’ve been able to win a decent amount of tournaments, as well.
Those are the memories I try and hold on to. Like I said, I’m definitely very proud of always putting myself in position. That’s always the goal at the beginning of the week is to have a chance to win. So being able to play in the last group in final rounds and compete in arenas like this with everything on the line is very special, and it’s a lot of fun for me.
Q.You’re looking to three-peat this year; is there another place on TOUR or a place that you’ve played where you walk into the week and it just kind of suits your eye, suits your game, and you feel really comfortable in a place like this?
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah, I think when I’m swinging well and I’m playing good golf, I can get comfortable on a lot of different courses. Usually I think it depends on how I’m feeling kind of going into the week, but it is nice coming to a place like this where I’ve had a lot of success and a lot of great memories. The last two years here have been really special. The first year being able to win in a playoff and then last year being able to kind of just have a great final round and separate myself from everybody else and being able to walk up 18 kind of knowing I had it in hand was a lot of fun, too.
Q.I was wondering if you have any advice on how to stay optimistic and calm during the round.
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER: Yeah, that’s a good question. I think for me, it’s all about my preparation. So when I go out on to the first tee, I just remind myself that I’ve done everything I could to play well. What that means is when I’m at home, I practice as hard as I can, I remain focused, and then when I step up on the first tee, it’s all about controlling what I can control.
All I can do on the first tee is have a shot in mind and do my best to hit that shot, and the rest isn’t up to me. I may get a bad bounce in the fairway. The ball may run into a divot. I may get a gust of wind. But all I can do is focus on controlling what I do versus everything else.
I’d say that’s probably the best way to try and stay calm out there.