The Masters 2022: Tiger Woods and champion Scottie Scheffler among top five Augusta talking points
Scottie Scheffler's statement victory, Tiger Woods' return to major action and the possible emergence of a new era for men's golf feature in our top talking points for the 2022 Masters
By Ali Stafford at Augusta National
Last Updated: 12/04/22 2:19pm
Five talking points from the 2022 Masters at Augusta National, featuring Scottie Scheffler's statement victory, Tiger Woods' return to major action and the possible emergence of a new era for men's golf.
Scheffler: Golf's new superstar?
After starting the year outside the world's top 10 and without a PGA Tour title to his name, Scottie Scheffler's maiden major success has crowned a whirlwind rise to the top of the men's game.
Scheffler's three-shot victory is his fourth in just six starts, following on from his titles at the WM Phoenix Open, Arnold Palmer Invitational and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, a run of form that has seen him early nearly $9 million in official earnings in barely two months.
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The 25-year-old is the sixth first-time major winner among the last eight Masters champions and the first player to claim the Green Jacket in his first start as world No 1 since Ian Woosnam achieved the same feat in 1991, with the victory extending Scheffler's advantage at the top of the world rankings.
Scheffler is the fifth reigning world No 1 to win The Masters and is likely to still hold the position by the time we get to the PGA Championship next month, also live on Sky Sports, where the American will have the opportunity to move further ahead of golf's elite.
The scary news for Scheffler's rivals is that the Southern Hills Championship Course that hosts the next major is said to be his favourite course.
A new era emerging in men's golf?
McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka have all spent lengthy stints at the top of the world rankings in recent seasons, while Jon Rahm saw his eight-month spell as world No 1 end last month, but are two of golf's rising stars now about to dominate the sport in 2022?
Scheffler and Cameron Smith have combined to win six of the 16 events on the PGA Tour in 2022, with Smith moving from outside the world's top 20 to inside the top five over the past three months.
The pair lead the PGA Tour standings this year for wins, earnings and world ranking points, with the duo part of a young contingent in the men's game that now sees eight of the world's top 10 aged 30 or under.
Smith said after his tied-third finish that he feels like he will secure a Green Jacket in the future. It would be little surprise to see him follow up Players Championship victory with major success this season.
Tiger crowns return with Open promise
Even as Tiger Woods limped - both literally and metaphorically - through the closing stages of his final round on Sunday with the leaders about to tee off at the first hole, the 15-time major winner remained the biggest attraction at Augusta National.
Despite a thrilling opening-day performance that left Woods in the top 10 and set him up to make the weekend, the five-time Masters champion's game was lacking the sharpness required to contend for a sixth title.
Encouragingly, there was plenty of evidence that the latest golfing version of Woods, back in major action 14 months after suffering career-threatening injuries in a car crash, still possesses a swing that can get him round the world's toughest courses.
However, whether or not Woods challenges for any trophies in the future, his return was a reminder that his mere presence is enough to elevate any tournament, and perhaps more so than ever.
Woods insisted before The Masters that he would not have played at Augusta - or in any other tournament - if he didn't think he could win. Given the extremes he had to put his body through before, during and after each round to compete, it is fair to assume there may not be too many more chances to watch the great in action.
With that in mind, Woods' confirmation - in his post-round interview with Sky Sports - that he will play at the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews in July, was the perfect finish to the weekend for golf fans, particularly those planning a trip to the Old Course.
McIlroy punished for slow start again
Rory McIlroy's wait for an elusive Green Jacket and career Grand Slam will have to wait at least another year, with the Northern Irishman's latest slow start a factor in the continuation of his major drought.
McIlroy was well placed during his opening round until two bogeys over the last five holes saw him stutter to a one-over 73, leaving him six strokes behind early leader Sungjae Im, with another over par display on Friday dropping him further off the pace.
The former world No 1 rallied over the weekend to follow a one-under 71 with a round-of-the-day 64 on Sunday, seeing him jump from ten strokes back to get within three shots of eventual champion.
McIlroy's final-day charge saw him post a runner-up finish, his best in 14 appearances at Augusta National, although a better Thursday could have seen him challenge for his only missing major.
The four-time major champion is now a combined 35-over-par in the first round of majors since his most recent success at the 2014 PGA Championship, compared to 68 under for the final three rounds over the same period.
DeChambeau's gamble doesn't pay off
Bryson DeChambeau's past comments about treating Augusta National like a 'par-67' resurfaced once again after another major disappointment, although the former US Open champion has more pressing concerns than trying to conquer The Masters.
DeChambeau has suffered an injury-plagued start to 2022 and had been warned by doctors against teeing it up in the opening major of the year, having been limited to three starts early in the campaign before taking six weeks off to try to fix hand and hip issues.
An early exit at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was followed by a missed cut at the Valero Texas Open, with DeChambeau admitting that he wasn't operating at 100 per cent going into his third start in as many weeks.
Those struggles were clearly evident with a four-over 76 on the opening day, while DeChambeau was in visible discomfort once again as he laboured to a second-round 80 containing just one birdie.
Only seven players ended the week lower down the leaderboard than DeChambeau, who continues his unwanted run of never posting a top-20 finish at The Masters. His record makes for bleak reading, with DeChambeau a combined 19-over-par for his 22 rounds at the event.
DeChambeau clearly needs a further spell away from the sport to allow his body to fully recover, but it remains to be seen how long it may be before he is back in PGA Tour action.
When are the rest of this year's majors?
Scheffler will now target further major success at the PGA Championship from May 19-22, which takes place at Southern Hills Country Club for the first time since Woods' victory there in 2007, with the US Open then being held at The Country Club in Brookline from June 16-19.
The men's major season then reaches its climax at The 150th Open from July 14-17, with Woods confirming he intends to tee it up at St Andrews, with all the majors once again exclusively live this year on Sky Sports Golf.