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Young athletes can learn from Masters champ Scheffler

Macafee

Scottie Scheffler recently won the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, for the second time. He dominated the historic tournament that included a field of the best golfers in the world — the Masters is one of the few remaining tournaments that is filled with players from both the PGA Tour and LIV Golf — and beat runner-up Ludvig Aberg by four strokes and third-place finishers Tommy Fleetwood, Max Homa and Collin Morikawa by seven strokes.

The University of Texas alum walked up the fairway to the 18th green beaming with confidence and pride, tapped in for par to finish his final round with a 4-under, 68, and win the $3.6 million purse. Scheffler picked his ball out of the hole and had a lengthy embrace with his caddy, Tim Scott, before letting out a triumphant yell in celebration.

But, that was it.

After winning the biggest tournament in golf, in a mostly individualistic sport, that was the only individual act that Scheffler would take part in. For the rest of the celebration, he did what he could to honor the people who helped get him there.

Walking off the green, Scheffler hugged his parents, family members and a few others. But when it came to making the walk up to the scoring area, which is surrounded by fans looking to get a spare golf ball, golf glove or high-five and is known as a victory walk for players and a loved one, Scheffler didn’t go at it alone. He stood and waited for Scott and when his faithful caddy finally caught up to him, he made sure to push him ahead to soak in the glory of capturing greatness once again.

Two years before, Scheffler had made the walk with his wife, Meredith, who didn’t make the trip to Augusta this year as the couple is expecting their first child. Again showing his selflessness, Scheffler had answered questions all week about how he would quickly drop out of the tournament if Meredith went into labor, no matter where he sat on the leaderboard.

When given an opportunity to celebrate an amazing achievement on the biggest stage in golf, something that only a special group of golfers have done, Scheffler acted as though it was just another tournament. He was satisfied with his victory but also understood that it wasn’t just him that should relish in celebration. I believe that’s something that should be emulated by athletes all over the country.

Athletes in today’s society, whether they play an individual or team sport, seem to be concerned about individual accomplishments and celebrating whenever they can. It’s something you see every Sunday during football season, every night during basketball season and even during baseball and other professional sports as well. Now, I’m not opposed to having a little fun, but I believe, at times, it can be too much.

It takes a lot of hard work to play sports professionally and while players deserve to celebrate at times, they are often role models for the younger generations of athletes and should act accordingly. That’s why Scheffler’s reaction Sunday caught my eye.

Scheffler took the victory in stride and was poised, humble and appreciative of what got him there. But that’s just how he was raised. While he has admitted that he’s an ultra-competitor, hates to lose and loves to win, golf has never necessarily been his purpose in life; it was always just something that he loved doing.

“I’m hoping it (golf) doesn’t define me too much,” Scheffler said last week during a press conference at Augusta. “I feel like I say it a bunch, but golf is something that I do, it’s a tremendously huge part of my life, but it doesn’t define me as a person. It’s something that I do.”

In a world where younger athletes look up to professionals on the biggest stages, Scheffler proved that he’s not just a great golfer, but a great man and role model that athletes of all ages can emulate as they grow into their own game.

Bravo, Scottie!

Have an interesting news story? Email Greg Macafee at gmacafee@tribtoday.com. Follow him on X at @greg_macafee.

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