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‘Hell of a player, even better person’

‘Hell of a player, even better person’

Alex Livie

Scottie Scheffler suffered an agonising defeat to Rory McIlroy in the Tour Championship, but the Irishman has backed the world No. 1 to be named PGA Tour Player of the Year.

Scheffler won four times in the 2022 season, the highlight being his maiden major win at the Masters.

His form dipped a little after his triumph at Augusta, but he bounced back in late summer and looked sure to be crowned FedEx Cup champion after taking a six-shot lead into the final round of the Tour Championship.

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McIlroy was thrilled to get over the line, but had positive words about Scheffler and felt it could be the start of a big rivalry.

“Scottie Scheffler is going to win the Player of the Year,” McIlroy said. “There’s no doubt about that.

“It would have been fitting for him to end his breakout season with a FedEx Cup title. He deserves this maybe more than I deserve it. He played an unbelievable season.

“He didn’t have his best stuff today, and I played well and took advantage of that.

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“You don’t really know what to say on the 18th green because he’s had such a great year, but he’ll be back, and he’s a great player, and I told him this certainly isn’t the last time that we’re going to have these battles on the golf course.

“Hell of a player, hell of a competitor. Even better person.”

Reflecting on his round and overall season, Scheffler said: “I just wasn’t hitting it very good at all.

“I struck the ball really nicely all week. I missed a few putts I should have made early and got out of rhythm. I fought really hard. I just couldn’t get the ball in play.

“I wanted to win the season-long title. I’ve had a really great year and I wanted to finish it off with a win here, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to do that.

“But at the end of the day … I’m just so thankful to be out here.”

The voting for the Nicklaus Award for the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year closes on September 9.

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