Scottie Scheffler visibly distressed as World No.1 plays through pain barrier at Players

Scottie Scheffler could not disguise his unease as he attempts to build on his victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational by winning the Players Championship for the second time in a row.

In an effort to preserve his Players Championship title defense, World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler winced his way through the proceedings at TPC Sawgrass, looking rather distressed.

The 27-year-old entered the Florida competition hoping to duplicate his performance from the year before, when he won by an impressive five shots. Following his victory by the same margin at the Arnold Palmer Invitational the previous week, many predicted that the American would continue to play well at Players.

The 2022 Masters champion got off to a great start at TPC Sawgrass on Thursday, shooting a five-under 67 in the opening round. On Friday, he made another strong start. With a second round score of 69, he is six shots behind Wyndham Clark in his pursuit of a second straight victory on the course.

On the 14th tee, Scheffler appeared to have a neck problem, so his fitness was the main worry after his second day in the Sunshine State. During his round, a physiotherapist treated the star who was in so much pain that he had to sit down on a chair.

“I felt a little something in my neck after hitting a shot on my second hole of the day. I could hardly get the club back when I tried to hit my tee shot on hole 12. I received some treatment, so perhaps things eased up a little, but for the most part of the day, I was working hard to get the club to leave me alone.

Subsequently, a physiotherapist provided additional care to the talented player from New Jersey, who eventually recovered to remain in the competition. After finishing the day six strokes behind Clark and eight under par, he afterwards thought back on his ordeal,

“Today, I tried my best to stay in the tournament; maybe, things will loosen up tomorrow, allowing me to play more or less normally. Good fight out there, because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to continue playing the way I was moving around the course and how my neck felt.”

Though he had put himself in a favorable position after two rounds at TPC Sawgrass, clubhouse leader Clark was happy with his performance. “I’ve rolled in a few putts, my iron play has been very solid, and I’ve really been mentally strong, so I’d say all of those things are why I’m sitting where I am right now,” he admitted.

Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick, who shot 69 after 66 in the first round, is also attempting to catch up to Clark. In light of the upcoming few days, the former US Open champion admitted that he was remaining optimistic, saying, “I felt the lie was good enough to kind of hack it on to the right side (of the green).”

“If you kind of go back there, you realize how far right it was—I was aiming at the right bunker. It simply grabbed hold of me and moved to the left. If not, I thought I completed everything effectively. I simply thought I played well overall. I played well in my approach play, drove the ball well, and made a few putts when I needed to.”

“There are still two days left, so anything can happen over the weekend. You never know.” Over the course of the weekend, another couple of six-under rounds could occur, and you never know. Therefore, all I have to do is try to be patient, keep doing what I’m doing, and proceed accordingly.”

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