Scottie Scheffler feels fan support in a new way at Harbour Town
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Scottie Scheffler feels fan support in a new way at Harbour Town

A photo of golfer Scottie Scheffler AUSTIN, TEXAS - MARCH 27: Scottie Scheffler of the United States plays his shot from the first tee in his finals match against Kevin Kisner of the United States on the final day of the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club on March 27, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Scottie Scheffler is a dominant world No. 1 in the game of men's professional golf, and yet there are many chirpy voices that wonder if the sport's fans actually like him.

With this year's Masters ratings down 20 percent over last year, there's been wondering out loud if Scheffler, his dominant play and understated on-course personality are connecting with the sport's viewers. Of course, there a half-dozen other reasons why fewer people watched the Masters this year compared to 2023, but that hasn't stopped quarters of speculation.

Maybe Saturday at the 2024 RBC Heritage can convince some of those voices that Scheffler has impressed watchers, and they're pulling for him.

From the start of the third round at Harbour Town Golf Links, the fans on Hilton Head Island seemed vociferously in Scheffler's corner. The world No. 1 responded with a big moving-day run, shooting 8-under 63 to jump into the lead on 16-under 197. By the time Scheffler polished off the round with a closing birdie on the difficult home hole, the galleries were going wild for him. Perhaps the fans are starting to realize just how special his play is at the moment.

"I felt like it was really interesting, on No. 1 the grandstand behind was packed when I was on the tee box, and then by the time we got to the green, I turned around and it was almost empty. It felt to me like the crowd was coming with me today, and there was definitely a lot of cheers out there, and it's nice to have their support," Scheffler explained.

The two-time Masters winner made it clear that he's never ignoring the people who come out to watch him play.

"I've always enjoyed playing in front of a crowd," he said. "It may not look like I'm paying much attention to them out there, but I can feel their energy, and it's great to have the support."

Scheffler is now in prime position to win for a fourth time in a two-month stretch. Were he to prevail on Sunday, he would have won four of his last five PGA Tour events -- losing to exactly one golfer (Stephan Jaeger at the 2024 Texas Children's Houston Open) in the process. He hopes to once again find the balance between trying to play his best golf with his best game plan while trying to again hoist a big trophy, win the RBC Heritage plaid jacket and take home the winner's share of the 2024 RBC Heritage purse.

"I really love winning, and I don't really like losing at all," he said. "It's one of those things where I try to manage the expectations of myself, kind of get that stuff out of the way and then go out there and compete."

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

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