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Frustrations mount for Scottie Scheffler after rough US Open Day 3

PINEHURST, N.C. — Scottie Scheffler was probably destined to have one of those weeks.

Perhaps the stress of dominating golf for so many years, holding the No. 1 world ranking, winning tournaments, competing for championships every week, having his first child and then being wrongfully arrested and incarcerated before the second round of the PGA Tour finally took its toll on the 27-year-old Scheffler.

“How was today?” Scheffler repeatedly asked after shooting a 1-over 71 in the third round of the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 on Saturday, putting him 6-over and far out of contention for the championship.

“Another frustrating day. I thought I played a lot better today than my score would suggest. I’m really struggling to read the greens. There were a lot of putts today that I felt like I hit well. [and] I looked up and saw they weren’t going in the direction I thought they would.

American Scottie Scheffler reacts to his second shot on the fourth hole during the third round of the 124th U.S. Open. Getty Images

“My swing felt a lot better today than last time. [Friday]”I felt like I hit some really good shots the last 27 holes, but it’s hard on this course, I just couldn’t get close enough. I just couldn’t hole the putts the last couple days.”

Scheffler has been in good form for a long time, so it was a shock to see him struggle to even make the cut at 5-over on Friday.

“The sport of golf, especially at the U.S. Open, can be quite mentally tortured,” Scheffler said. “I think it was definitely tough. I was in my hometown for way too long those first 27 holes. It was all really tough.”

“I probably felt like I had it a little easier today because I hit a lot more fairways.”

Scottie Scheffler prepares to putt on the 17th green during the third round of the U.S. Open golf tournament. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

Scheffler then responded: “I’m not going to use myself as a benchmark for what’s good right now. Right now I’m mediocre at best.”

Mediocre Scottie Scheffler is Scottie Scheffler of Bizarro World.

Because he set the standards he set for himself so high.

Prompted by reporters, Scheffler refused to go down the path of complaining about the course setup or whether it was fair or unfair, a complaint the USGA often hears from players.

“The word ‘boundary’ is kind of a trigger word when it comes to the U.S. Open,” Scheffler said. “No matter what I’m thinking, I know pretty much where I’m trying to hit the ball. When I’m not hitting the ball where I’m supposed to, that’s when things get complicated.”

“I’m thinking about number five. [Friday] I hit a double, I hit it into the waste area, I got a bad break, I didn’t get it on the green, the next shot I didn’t have enough sand under the ball, I blame it on luck or whatever.

“I knew not to hit the ball there. I knew where to hit it and where not to hit it. If I could hit the ball in the middle of the fairway, the middle of the green, I’m sure I could get a par 18.”

“Certainly mistakes are going to hurt more here than they do at the Travelers next week. That’s the nature of the golf course, that’s the nature of the tournament. There will be more injuries from missed shots here than there were at the Memorial last week. That’s the U.S. Open.”

What’s next for Scheffler, who is set to compete in the Travelers Championship next week?

Scottie Scheffler hits from a bunker on the 10th hole during the third round of the U.S. Open golf tournament on Saturday, June 15, 2024. AP

“I’m going to be ready to play tomorrow morning,” he said. “I’m going to wake up, get ready to go out on the course again and see if I can learn something. I’m not going to think too much about my goals tomorrow and hopefully I can do it. I’m just going to try to have a good round tomorrow.”

Scheffler was asked about the advantages and disadvantages of playing a tournament the week before a major championship.

He played at the Memorial last week and won.

But he wasn’t at Pinehurst on a pre-tournament scouting trip.

“I thought about it a little bit yesterday afternoon,” Scheffler said of his preparation for a major tournament. “In terms of the preparation work, knowing it’s going to be as tough a week as this one is, I’m thinking maybe I won’t play the week before, especially getting to Jack’s, I think it’s pretty close. [to a major]Earlier this week I did most of my damage there at below par.

“Going into a major tournament, especially one that I know is going to be really difficult, it might be best for me not to play the week before. It’s something to think about later in the year. That’s part of my thinking.” [Friday] I sat and watched the cut.