THE PLAYERS Championship: Scottie Scheffler hoping to follow same path as Duval

The in-form Texan's career is mirroring David Duval's and that could be a good omen as he bids to add yet another victory by landing the silverware at TPC Sawgrass.

When a highly-touted golfer finally gets a first win after a frustrating series of near misses, there's a simple narrative: the floodgates will now open.

One win will become two, then three and there will be no looking back.

Often it plays out rather differently but if there's a poster boy for the 'floodgates' theory it must surely be American David Duval.

Duval was throwing all around the bullseye for a couple of years in the 1990s.

In 1996, he recorded two seconds, three thirds and a fourth while early 1997 would also bring another couple of tantalising not quites as he finished runner-up at Pebble Beach and Sugarloaf.

Duval was also racking up a run of top 20s in the Majors while he even played on the 1996 Presidents Cup team, posting a 4-0-0 record during a comprehensive US victory.

But still solo success eluded him.

Then, in October 1997, everything changed… and then some.

Duval got the big breakthrough when he saw off Grant Waite and Duffy Waldorf in a play-off to capture the Michelob Championship at Kingsmill.

A week later, he won another play-off, this time outlasting Dan Forsman at the Walt Disney World Classic to make it back-to-back wins.

After deservedly having the following week off, Duval turned up at the end-of-season Tour Championship and, wouldn't you know it, he won that too.

Three wins in three straight starts.

Fuelled by that heady late-season burst, Duval turned from nearly man to serial winner.

He racked up 13 victories from 1997 to 2001, became a Major champion by landing the 2001 Open at Royal Lytham and also rose to No. 1 in the world rankings.

Fast forward to 2022 and just maybe we have a new David Duval on our hands.

Scottie Scheffler, like Double D, is a big-hitter from the south of the United States.

Like Duval, Scheffler built a strong record in the Majors and even played a Ryder Cup before being able to make the big breakthrough and secure a first PGA Tour win.

And, like Duval, once that first win came (last month's Waste Management Phoenix Open), the second arrived in quick succession after Scheffler took victory in last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Scheffler will hope his mirroring of Duval's career arc continues. And, if it does, that could make this week a very profitable one for him.

After Duval became a regular winner, his next big step was to add THE PLAYERS Championship trophy. That came in 1999. Two years later, he conquered the biggest mountain of all when winning a Major.

Could Scheffler do the same?

The similarities don't stop there. The same year he conquered Sawgrass, Duval had shot a final-round 59 to score an incredible win at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.

Fewer than a dozen golfers have ever broken 60 on the PGA Tour but, guess what, one of that elite bunch is Scheffler, who shot 59 in the 2020 Northern Trust.

In 1999 when Duval won THE PLAYERS, he was already a two-time winner that season. Yep, that applies to Scheffler in 2022.

The more you look, the more DD = SS.

The omens certainly look good for Scheffler at Sawgrass this week but what did the man himself have to say in Tuesday's press conference?

Scheffler on Sawgrass

"I like the golf course a lot. It rewards good shots and punishes the bad ones.

"I think I've only played three competitive rounds here in THE PLAYERS. I missed the cut last year, and then two years ago I had a good first round (68) but obviously it was cancelled.

"So I really don't have too much experience around the golf course in tournament conditions, but I know the golf course pretty well just from playing junior tournaments here and from seeing it on TV.

"It's a good test of golf, and as long as I'm playing well, I should score well out here."

Scheffer on fatigue

"I would say mentally for sure. Physically I feel great. Mentally maybe a little bit worn out. I got some good rest yesterday, and I'm taking it pretty easy today and tomorrow, so I should be rested come Thursday."

Scheffler on the chance of becoming World No.1 this week

"I didn't know that until you just said that, so... I wouldn't say I really pay too much close attention to stuff like that. For me I'm just really focused on this event and this tournament and kind of getting ready.

"This golf course provides a much different challenge than last week does, and I'm just trying to prepare for that."

Scheffler on the parallels with David Duval

"I guess I'm already a bit behind. I only have one in a row right now so I've got to win two.

"Yeah, I think it's just funny. I think it's almost more of a coincidence that I won twice in three starts versus there being anything outside of that."

READ MORE: The 17th hole at Sawgrass could cause havoc yet again

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