Scottie Scheffler works with new coach to fix putting woes

GUIDONIA MONTECELIO, Italy -- World No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler didn't wait long to do something about the one area of his game that lagged behind others.

One day after the final round of the Tour Championship on Aug. 27, Scheffler called putting coach Phil Kenyon for help. Kenyon flew to Dallas a few days later, and he and Scheffler went to work.

Scheffler was practicing Wednesday with Kenyon on the putting green at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, the site of this week's Ryder Cup.

"I mean, basically he just told me I sucked. He couldn't believe I ever won a tournament with how I putted," Scheffler joked Wednesday. "That's what you want to hear, right? No, on a serious note, I had a feeling what I was doing wrong. My suspicions were kind of answered."

Scheffler picked up PGA Tour victories at the WM Phoenix Open in February and the Players Championship in March. But he didn't win again in 2023, and his putting was the primary reason why.

He put up some of the most impressive ball-striking numbers in recent PGA Tour history. He led the circuit in strokes gained: total (2.314), tee to green (2.615), off the tee (1.021) and approach (1.194). He was fifth in strokes gained: around the green (.399). But Scheffler admits he was lost on the green. He ranked 151st in strokes gained: putting (-0.301), 138th in one-putt percentage (38.07%) and 114th in putts per round (29.09). He changed putters at various points during the season, but it didn't help.

"I was trying to fix it in the completely wrong way," Scheffler said. "The way I moved the putter through the ball, I was kind of fighting the toe rising on the putter as I went through. So sometimes I'd miss contact a little bit in the heel."

In an effort to fix the problem, Scheffler dropped his hands, which exacerbated the issue.

"I feel everything in my hands, and what I would do is I would lower my hands," Scheffler said. "But when I lowered my hands, it actually caused the toe of the putter to go higher and higher. So as the year went on, my hands are getting lower and lower, and the problem is getting worse and worse.

"It was something I couldn't figure out, and it was preventing me from hitting as many putts on line as I should have. Like I said this year, I really did hit a lot of good putts. Now I feel like I'm much more consistent hitting my start line."

Scheffler said he is much more comfortable on the green heading into the Ryder Cup than he was throughout the past season.

"I see the ball rolling end over end a lot more than I did a month ago, and it's exciting," Scheffler said. "It's good for me to have a little bit of direction. I think the second set of eyes with Phil was really, really helpful. It was good to get my brain in order and feel like I'm working in the right direction versus playing a bit of a guessing game. Phil has been really helpful."

Kenyon, who operates putting academies in Liverpool, England, and Sea Island, Georgia, also coaches Tommy Fleetwood, who is playing for the European team at Marco Simone. He has worked with Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Matt Fitzpatrick and Nicolai Hojgaard in the past.

"Yeah, Englishman in the American camp," Scheffler said. "When he came to Dallas, I was joking with him. I told him his stuff is going to work so well he's not going to be welcome back at his home club when he gets home after the Ryder Cup."