We spoke to Scottie Scheffler's putting coach: "I had to drag him off the green"

GolfMagic sat down with Scottie Scheffler's putting coach, Phil Kenyon, to learn more about their new partnership. 

Johnny Percival's picture
Fri, 8 Dec 2023
Scottie Scheffler

Scottie Scheffler's struggles with the putter have been well documented in recent months, but victory at the Hero World Challenge last week suggests the tides may be changing. 

To learn more about the World No. 1's putting, we spoke to the man behind the scenes, Scheffler's new coach, Phil Kenyon.

Kenyon is one of the world's best-putting coaches, and his client list is jam-packed with some of the biggest names in the game, including Max Homa, Matt Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose, and now Scheffler.

He has recently opened a new state-of-the-art putting studio at Tee Box in London. The indoor golf facility features the only Zen Green in the city, as well as a Sam PuttLab. To find out more about the studio, we headed down there to meet the man himself.

Scheffler first contacted Kenyon during the Tour Championship at East Lake, and the pair joined forces weeks before the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome.

Discussing the first session they had together, Kenyon said:

"One of the first things that I noticed with Scottie was just how hard he works. He’s literally one of the hardest-working guys I’ve ever come across. It’s tough to putt all day, physically it's tough, and mentally it’s tough.
"I remember the first time I went to see him I had to drag him off the green, I think he could have stayed there all day until it was dark."

Despite some nerve-wracking putting performances at the Ryder Cup, the spoils of Kenyon's labour have already begun to show, as Scheffler demonstrated a much steadier hand with the putter when he won the Hero World Challenge last week at Albany Golf Club.

Eager to dig a little deeper into what exactly the two are working on, Kenyon revealed that simplifying things has been vital for improvement. 

"I think he’s always had that work ethic but has possibly worked on some of the wrong things, and then if you aren't putting well, it's easy to search looking for a solution.
"So one thing I’ve tried to do is just simplify a lot of things, actually, tell him some things that he does really well, and then provide some simple solutions relevant to some of the things I feel he can improve on."

Having been ranked 162nd in strokes gained putting on the PGA Tour in 2023, there is clearly lots of room for improvement with Scheffler's stroke. However, Kenyon believes that having an understanding of what is going wrong is all part of improving.

He added:

"I think with world-class players, if they’ve got clarity in what they're doing and they know the reason certain things happen, then they’ve got that first part of any coping mechanism.
"If you miss a putt and you don’t know why it happened, you’re going to get frustrated. So if you understand what you’re doing, having some processes and how to manage them, I think the psychology becomes much easier, and that helps take the emotion out of it.
"It’s early doors with Scottie; his struggles have been well-documented by many, but if he can putt well, I mean, wow, what a golfer."

What a golfer, indeed. Scheffler's game has been imperious in 2023, and aside from his putting, he has stood atop almost every strokes gained category on the PGA Tour from tee to green. Thanks to his outstanding ball striking, he has also retained his spot at the top of the official golf world rankings.  

It could be a scary year for everyone else on the PGA Tour if Kenyon and Scheffler are able to form a productive relationship, and the early signs are promising, but despite that, Kenyon was cautious about his optimism.

He said: 

"Golf has a funny way of levelling everything out. His long game has been amazing for a long period of time. How long he can maintain that, we don’t know. But certainly, if he can improve his putting, he’s going to remain competitive.

While Kenyon offered an understandably measured forecast for Scheffler's future, we believe this partnership could prove terrible news for the rest of the PGA Tour, and we can't wait to see what pair can cook up for the 2024 season.

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