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The Masters: Scottie Scheffler not motivated by legacy ahead of title defence at Augusta National

World No 1 Scottie Scheffler is looking to become just the fourth player in history to successfully defend his title at The Masters; Rory McIlroy is chasing a career Grand Slam at Augusta National and Jon Rahm a fourth victory of the year

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A look back at Scottie Scheffler’s sensational victory at the 2022 edition of The Masters

Scottie Scheffler insists he is not treating The Masters any differently to any other title defence, despite his chance to make major history at Augusta National.

Scheffler secured a maiden major title with an impressive three-shot victory in last year's contest, which was part of a dominant streak of four wins in a six-tournament stretch to start 2022.

The American successfully defended his title at the WM Phoenix Open in February and stormed to a five-shot win at The Players last month, with Scheffler now having the chance to claim a seventh victory in 14 months.

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A look back at Scottie Scheffler’s sensational victory at the 2022 edition of The Masters

Jack Nicklaus, Sir Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods are the only players to have previously successfully defended their title at The Masters, with Scheffler adamant that having fun is more of a motivation than creating a legacy.

"Just because it's The Masters and it is what it is, and it's such a special tournament that I think we build it up so much in our heads," Scheffler said in his pre-tournament press conference.

The Masters - Live

"As far as my preparation goes, I've kept things pretty similar to what they were last year, outside of getting here a few hours earlier on Sunday so I could play more golf.

"When the tournament starts on Thursday, everybody starts even par. Just because you're defending doesn't mean I get to start at one under. I'll be approaching it just like I do a lot of other tournaments.

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Scottie Scheffler watches his drive on the third hole during the third round of the Dell Technologies Match Play Championship golf tournament in Austin, Texas, Friday, March 24, 2023.
Image: Scottie Scheffler is joint-favourite with Rory McIlroy to win the opening major of the year

"Legacy at the end of this is not really why I play. With that being said, any time you can get mentioned in the same breath as a Tiger and a Jack and a Nick Faldo is really special, but it's not a motivating factor for me to come out here and play.

"It's so special and cool when it happens, but it doesn't motivate me out here. I'm just trying to come out here and do my best and play good golf and have fun. Legacy is a complicated thing. In 100 years I'm going to be forgotten and it's not a big deal."

The Masters - Live

Golf's 'big three' to resume rivalry at Augusta

Scheffler heads into the opening major of the year as world No 1 ahead of Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm, who could both leapfrog the American at the top of the standings with a victory this week.

Rahm is already a three-time winner on the PGA Tour this year and McIlroy - chasing the career Grand Slam this week - started 2023 with Hero Dubai Desert Classic victory, with golf's leading trio having six titles between them during the past three months.

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Tiger Woods says it's 'only a matter of time' before Rory McIlroy wins at Augusta and ends his wait for a career Grand Slam

"We are definitely not making each other worse, that's for sure," Scheffler added. "I think you've seen just a pretty high level of consistency from us so far this year. I think if you look at a lot of the leaderboards, we've been pretty close to winning most of the elevated events.

"A lot of that is just good, healthy competition and hopefully we'll continue to elevate ourselves through that competition and then the guys behind us will be nothing but motivated to get to where we are."

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Rich Beem gives his reasons why he believes Rory McIlroy will be victorious at Augusta this year

When asked about their consistency, McIlroy said: "It just seems like one of us three is popping up every week we play with a chance to win. That's the level that we all want to be at.

"I think that for me, anyway, seeing those two guys consistently performing at that level just pushes me to want to be better."

Watch The Masters throughout the week live on Sky Sports! Live coverage of the opening round begins on Thursday from 2pm on Sky Sports Golf.

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