MCKINNEY, Texas — It’s usually not difficult to find Jordan Spieth’s pairing while roaming the grounds of TPC Craig Ranch. The largest army of patrons to be seen on the court often surrounds the Dallas native, who is no stranger to being the biggest draw at AT&T Byron Nelson in front of his hometown crowd.
That was largely the case again this year as the course baked in the Texas heat, though Spieth wasn’t his hometown’s only headliner during the first leg of the PGA Tour’s Dallas-Fort Worth swing.
Enter Scottie Scheffler, who after his meteoric rise to No. 1 on the official golf rankings, now rivals Spieth’s claim as the face of professional golf among Dallas natives.
Four months ago, Scheffler was still looking for his first win on the PGA Tour. He is now the defending Masters champion, a performance in April that marked his fourth win on a dominant stretch of golf.
So it was no coincidence or surprise when the two local stars – both with healthy momentum on the tour – were grouped alongside the tournament’s defending champion KH Lee for the first two rounds.
Of course, the sight of Spieth and Scheffler in the same pairing weighs far more now than it did 12 months ago when they were also side by side in this tournament. While Scheffler is already friends off course, times are different now given Scheffler’s burden of stardom.
“We talked about this a few weeks ago. We thought we’d get together at this event, so we’re glad we did,” Scheffler said Wednesday. “…Jordan is an easy guy for me to play golf with and fun to watch too so it should be a good time and hopefully we’ll draw a bit of a crowd and do some birdies for them.” “
During the first 36 holes, there was frequent small talk between the two; sometimes they even laughed. Oh, and those little birds came too. Spieth and Scheffler both hit 67s in the opening round before firing 65 and 68, respectively, to compete in the weekend.
“Thursday, [Scheffler] started well as we didn’t really – we had a couple of stretches together where we both played well but it seemed like we played 59 best on both days,” Spieth said on Friday when he made four in a row; I did three in a row when he was free.”
It doesn’t matter the identical Thursday results, the Dallas connection, or that Spieth and Scheffler both played Byron Nelson at one point in high school before both became stars at the University of Texas. While Scheffler’s three previous starts at Craig Ranch all still mattered as homecomings, the energy just soars when you attend a tournament in his hometown as one of the sport’s top faces.
Spieth experienced this first-hand.
“I came here and played this tournament after winning the Masters [in 2015] and [remember] maybe this year what the extra [energy] was like,” Spieth recalled earlier in the week. “I’m kind of interested in being almost a bit of a spectator in this situation and watching the added weirdness that surrounds Scottie’s return home after he wins [the Masters] two tournaments ago for him.”
No amount of weirdness he’s faced up to this point has ruffled Scheffler this season, and there’s no sign of that stopping as he’s 9-under, six behind the lead in the weekend. This is despite his second round which at times looked like it might jeopardize his ability to see through the weekend.
Scheffler carded a triple bogey on the par-4 13th after a faulty drive led to extensive tree problems. He followed with a three-putt that briefly sank under the projected cutline. Two holes later, Scheffler began a streak of three consecutive birdies to return to par before hitting a 3-under-33 on his back nine.
If anything, playing some 28 miles north of his home country of Highland Park has had a calming effect on Scheffler. In his hours away from Craig Ranch this week, it’s a welcome sense of normalcy for the world’s top golfer.
“We definitely have some friends and family [in attendance]’ Scheffler said. “We’ve got a bunch of people in our house this week, which is fun. So it’s going to be a great week, it’s been a good week so far.”
Life on the PGA Tour has only deepened Scheffler’s appreciation for the simple extravagances of sleeping in your own bed. Given the importance of round-to-round calmness as a tournament progresses, it’s a luxury he doesn’t take for granted.
“Having some events close to home — and especially one where I can sleep in my own bed — is a huge benefit,” Scheffler said. “I don’t really feel like I’m traveling and playing this week. It’s good to be at home. i love texas i love dallas
The focus now shifts to the weekend before the golf world heads north across the Red River to the 2022 PGA Championship in Southern Hills.
Unlike Spieth, who is just three strokes off the lead with 12 points and is aiming for his first win at the Byron Nelson, Scheffler needs an impressive climb if he wants to claim his fifth PGA Tour win of his career.
https://www.cbssports.com/golf/news/2022-at-t-byron-nelson-comforts-of-home-helping-jordan-spieth-scottie-scheffler-contend-entering-moving-day/ 2022 AT&T Byron Nelson: Comforts of Home helps Jordan Spieth and Scottie Scheffler attend moving day