Scottie Scheffler had a quick Masters celebration. Now, it’s time to get back to work

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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Masters champion Scottie Scheffler would be the first to lament he doesn’t spend enough time celebrating his achievements, which are piling up at an alarming pace. He made an exception after winning his second green jacket in three years.

He flew home to Dallas with his four close friends, manager and coach. And on a whim, with his wife’s blessing when she picked them up, they all went to the Inwood Tavern to celebrate, Scheffler still in his green jacket.

They stayed 20 minutes and then it was closing time. Scheffler technically can say they closed down the bar.

“Took a few photos, had a drink and then went home and went to bed,” Scheffler said Wednesday at the RBC Heritage on idyllic Hilton Head Island, a tournament known as the perfect place for a big post-Masters exhale.

His wife Meredith is not due with the couple’s first child for about two more weeks. Scheffler had planned all along to play in the $20 million signature event and he never gave a thought to anything but honoring his commitment.

That doesn’t mean the other 68 players at Harbour Town Golf Links are playing for second this week. It only seems that way.

Max Homa, speaking of his own reflections at Augusta National, made a passing reference to Scheffler as “the best player in the world and one of the best players I think we’ll ever see.”

“The gap seems to be quite large,” said Homa, who tied for third at the Masters. “He’s gone first, first, second, first. Three of those events are the best fields we’ve got. One of them is another good field on a really difficult golf course. I think we’ve seen people do this over the years as far as excellence over a little bit of time.

“His seems to be sustained a bit longer than I can remember from a lot of people.”

The RBC Heritage is nothing like the Masters on so many levels, and Scheffler was reminded of that during the nine holes of his pro-am. He stood on the tee at the par-3 14th and was amazed at how small the green appeared. Harbour Town is tight, tree-lined and has some of the smallest greens on the PGA Tour.

And history is not on Scheffler’s side this week. The last Masters champion to win at Harbour Town the following week was Bernhard Langer in 1985. Known for his meticulous preparations, Scheffler spent Monday decompressing. He played the back nine during the pro-am and will see the front nine Thursday when he plays the opening round with Jordan Spieth.

Much was made of Scheffler saying he would leave the Masters if his wife went into labor, though he was simply answering a question. “No signs of early labor,” he said.

So many others found Harbour Town a good place to reflect on the first major. That includes Ludvig Aberg, the runner-up at the Masters who already is among the top 10 in the world ranking without having played a major until Augusta.

He was tied for the lead until a shot into the water left of the 11th green that led to double bogey, and Scheffler never gave him a chance to catch up.

“You don’t really know what it’s going to be like to play your first major until you really play it,” Aberg said. “I felt like we handled that really well, and it makes us really excited about the next one.”

Homa also was tied for the lead on Sunday and was one behind when his tee shot on the par-3 12th took a wicked hop over the green and into the ivy, leading to a penalty drop and eventually a double bogey.

The loud ovation he received walking to the 12th tee is a moment he won’t forget. Homa said he came away realizing anew that his game is good enough.

“I did absolutely nothing special on the weekend and had a very good chance, minus a bad bounce on the 12th. So that’s kind of what I’ve taken going into the other ones, that I didn’t have any magic on the weekend,” he said.

The conversations all eventually made it back to Scheffler, the talk of golf. He said he would rest Wednesday afternoon, but not before spending an hour on the putting green with his putting coach, Phil Kenyon, and still taking time for a few laughs and plenty of players wanting to congratulate him and his caddie, Ted Scott.

“I can’t do anything about Scottie. He’s an unbelievable player and a person, and I respect him so much,” Aberg said. “I think it’s good to have him here because he’s pushing everyone else to get a little bit better, as well.”

Wyndham Clark was runner-up to Scheffler two weeks in a row, at Bay Hill and The Players Championship. He wasn’t around for the weekend at Augusta, but the U.S. Open champion has seen enough of Scheffler to know who he’s facing.

“I think everyone looks at themselves in the mirror and goes, ‘What do I need to get better?’ Because you feel like you’re playing good golf and you’re not beating him.”

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AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf

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