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The Victor Voice

The Student News Site of Victor Senior High School

The Victor Voice

The Student News Site of Victor Senior High School

The Victor Voice

Schauffle Breaks Through At Valhalla: 2024 PGA Championship Recap

Schauffle Breaks Through At Valhalla: 2024 PGA Championship Recap

The second major of the year set in Louisville Kentucky provided fireworks on and off the course and ended down the wire similar to the race across the way at Churchill Downs. The week opened similar to the way the first major of the year did with Scottie Scheffler as a large favorite.

 

This time at three to one instead of the four to one mark he received at Augusta, Scottie was poised to capture his third major and complete the second leg of the Grand Slam. Going into the week Scottie knew there may be some trouble.

 

After donning the Green Jacket in Augusta and winning in his next start in Hilton Head at the RBC Heritage, Scheffler withdrew from The Wells Fargo to be there for the birth of his son. Additionally, The Masters champion would be without his experienced caddie Ted Scott who would be missing Saturday’s round to attend his daughter’s graduation.

 

The man second to Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, also came into the week facing some off-the-course adversity. McIlroy was coming into the week on a heater after winning the tour’s only team event with fellow Irishman Shane Lowry at the Zurich classic. McIlroy followed up this win with a signature event win at the Wells Fargo in Quail Hollow.

 

At the start of the week, news broke that McIlroy and his wife split as McIlroy filed for divorce. Many asked questions coming into the week as to how this would impact McIlroy’s play at Valhalla. 

 

McIlroy has had a favorable history at Valhalla when he won his fourth major and second PGA there in 2014. This started his eventual 10-year and counting major drought that he aimed to end where it started. 

 

Thursday’s opening round was highlighted by Xander Schauffle who shot a major record-tying nine under 62. This would be the second time Schauffle shot a 62 in a major after he opened the 2023 U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club by tying the record. 

 

Scheffler made his presence known after holing out for an eagle on the par-four first hole. He would finish with a 67 and end the day tied for tenth.

 

The story of last year’s PGA at Oak Hill: Michael Block was not able to retain his magic from his campaign in upstate New York from the year prior. Block started with a bogey on the first and followed it up with a quadruple bogey on the second on his way to missing the cut.

 

Friday morning at around 5 am before the start of the second round would flip this tournament on its head and set the golf world ablaze. 

 

Before the second round, a man who was volunteering as security for the tournament was tragically hit by a shuttle bus and was killed. The tragedy caused the Louisville Metro Police Department to launch into action immediately beginning an investigation into the matter. 

 

This led to a severe backup of traffic around Valhalla’s one and only entrance. This forced the PGA to push tee times back multiple hours. This impacted the field as a whole but it would single out one player and change his week for the worse, Scottie Scheffler. 

 

Scheffler was attempting to enter into the grounds at Valhalla when he was allegedly instructed to drive through the median to bypass the traffic to begin his warmup. Then, an officer who was not initially assigned to the tournament but was on site due to the tragedy that occurred earlier in the morning attempted to stop Scheffler.

 

After Scheffler allegedly ignored the officer, the officer attached himself to the vehicle and was then dragged multiple yards before the car was stopped. Scheffler then got out of the vehicle and was immediately handcuffed and sent to the police station to be booked.

 

Scheffler got hit with four charges including a felony count of assault on an officer that could put him in jail for up to ten years. Scheffler was understandably shaken after the arrest “ I was just in shock, and I think my body was just — I was shaking the whole time. I was shaking for like an hour”.

 

Scheffler stated in his post-round presser that he began his warmup in his jail cell by stretching and eating a sandwich prepared by the staff. Scheffler would make it out on bail and would make it to his tee time. 

 

After a morning that most would never dream up, Scheffler birdied his first hole on his way to a 66 placing him only three shots behind the lead heading into the weekend. 

 

Schauffle validated his opening round 62 with a 68 on Friday to give him a one-shot lead over two-time major champion Collin Morikawa who shot 66 on Friday. The defending champion Brooks Koepka put himself in the conversation after a second-round 68 despite going 0/4 on putts between three and six feet.

 

The weekend at Valhalla was poised to be an interesting one with many major champions looking to add to their total and multiple players looking to break through and join golf’s elite at the top of the mountain.

 

Moving day at the PGA was highlighted by another major record-tying low, this time by an Irishman most people would not expect in Shane Lowry. Lowry shot a bogey-free 62 with nine birdies while making only a par on the 18th hole which played as the course’s easiest hole.

 

Bryson Dechambeu also made headlines as he chipped in for an eagle on the 18th hole to which he emphatically fist-pumped. DeChambeu after contending at Augusta yet again would play a role in a major on Sunday.

DeChambeu who many began to view as one of golf’s most hated figures after stating that Augusta National played as a par 67 to him instead of its stated par of 72 due to how far he hit the ball. DeChambeu seemed to have turned a corner by starting a YouTube channel which he said allowed him to refill his tank and give him a break from the angst of competitive golf.

 

Saturday’s leader Xander Schauffle shot another 68 and was joined at the top of the leaderboard at 15 under by Morikawa following his third-round 67.

 

Rory McIlroy found himself on the outside looking in and not contending after finishing his third round with a 68 and placing him six shots behind the leaders at nine under for the tournament.

Koepka did not have his stuff on Saturday after signing for a three over 74 and taking himself out of the running for a repeat which was last accomplished by him with his win at Bethpage Black in 2019.

 

Scheffler after beating all the odds with his round on Friday had his circumstances finally catch up to him. Without his caddie Ted Scott, Scheffler posted a 73 and would have left himself out of contention and extinguished the small fire that could have become the Grand Slam. 

 

On Sunday birdies were the name of the game and some made them and some did not. On a benign setup at Valhalla Scheffler bounced back with a 65 and would finish tied for eighth for yet another top ten in a major.

 

While most of the field was going five, six, or seven under par the co-leader at the start of the day Collin Morikawa was stuck in neutral. Morikawa began his round with 14 straight pars and would then make a bogey on the par four 15th and would break the seal a bit to late with a birdie on 18. Morikawa finished tied for fourth after losing another opportunity at a major after failing to win while in contention at The Masters. 

 

Viktor Hovland who put his name in the hat after finishing the third round two shots back of the lead had a shot but saw his opportunity fade. Hovland, who was playing as arguably the best player in the world at the end of last season, started off the 2024 season in a rough spot.

 

However, after working with coach Joe Mayo, Hovland found his game and played amazingly throughout the week. Hovland would end up coming up short after making a bogey on the last hole to finish third at 18 under. 

 

DeChambeu once again was making moves up the board and igniting the crowd on his way there. On the 16th hole, DeChambeu crushed his Krank driver designed for long drive participants into the trees. However, it kicked back into the fairway, he took advantage of this fortune and hit a seven iron from over 200 yards to a couple of feet from the hole and made the putt for birdie. 

 

DeChambeu would then go on to make a birdie on the 18th by dripping in a birdie putt for a bogey-free 64. While Dechambeau would not go on to win the tournament he did win the hearts of many fans. The energy he brought to Valhalla was unmatched and treated the media with humility and respect following a tough loss.

 

The stage was set on the 18th tee with Xander Schauffle needing a birdie on the last hole to capture his first major championship. Schauffle had not won on tour since 2022 at the Scottish Open and has struggled to put away tournaments after not hoisting a trophy at TPC Sawgrass at The Players and the previous week at Quail Hollow.

 

Schauffle hit his drive just a couple of feet short of the bunker left of the fairway. This set up an interesting shot where Schauffle would have to stand in the bunker in order to hit his ball, he hit a solid shot laying up to the right fairway forcing himself to get up and down to win the Wanamaker Trophy.

 

Schauffle would hit his third shot to just past six feet and in a must make scenario he lipped in the put and finally got the monkey off of his back. Relief flooded over Schauffle as he had finally captured his first major.

 

After being regarded with the title of the best current player to never win a major, Schauffle turned in the baton and received a major win at Valhalla. Schauffle was seen hoisting the trophy without someone who had been by his side for all of his life and most of his career, his father.

 

Schauffle’s dad was in Hawaii living in a shipping container while building a compound for him and his family. This seemed to be an interesting moment as he had been his son’s swing coach for a large portion of his career. 

 

Schauffle recently began working with Chris Como, who formerly worked with Bryson DeChambeau. Como made some changes to Schauffle’s swing which allowed him to add more speed which undoubtedly helped in his pursuit of the PGA at Valhalla.

 

Scheffler, who was the story going into the week, seemed to be the story coming out of it despite not winning. His arraignment was scheduled for the Tuesday following the major but was pushed back until June third. Scheffler stated that it was all just a big misunderstanding and plans to plead not guilty.

 

As we look back on a hectic week in Kentucky we may not remember Schauffle breaking through but instead the questionable setup and the number one player in the world getting arrested on a felony charge. However, Xander Schauffle put together four great rounds and is definitely someone who will be sticking around to give Scottie Scheffler a run for his money.

 

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About the Contributor
Connor Doran
Connor Doran, Managing Editor
Connor Doran is a senior attending Victor Senior High School. This is Connor’s first year as a Journalist and he is a Staff Writer. Outside of school, Connor participates in Football and Golf. Connor also is one of two Co-Presidents for Victor’s DECA chapter and is looking forward to helping others experience the difference this year.

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