Answering golf's biggest questions after Scottie Scheffler's Masters win

Scheffler: Wearing the green jacket again is really special (1:24)

Scottie Scheffler tries to put into words what it means to win the 2024 Masters and wearing the iconic green jacket for the second time. (1:24)

The 2024 Masters tournament is over and for the second time in three years Scottie Scheffler reigns supreme. With Scheffler now the owner of two green jackets, the rest of major season will feature the world's best players trying to take down the world No. 1.

From Scheffler's potential to Rory McIlroy's major quest to Tiger Woods' future plans, here are six lingering questions as the golf world shifts its focus from Augusta to the PGA Championship at Valhalla Country Club in May.

What's the ceiling for Scheffler?

Schlabach: I honestly don't think Scheffler has a ceiling right now. Over the past two years, he has matured tremendously as a golfer. He admitted Sunday that playing golf will become less of a priority after his wife, Meredith, gives birth to their first child later this month.

But Scheffler also said that he will always care deeply about winning golf tournaments -- almost wanting to win too much. I think capturing a second green jacket is confirmation that he's the best golfer in the world. He has won nine times since February 2022, but only one of them was at a major championship.

Now, he has won two green jackets. I don't think it's a question of whether Scheffler will win another major championship. It's a question of how many he's going to win and how long it's going to take him to pile them up.

Honestly, is it too early to talk about him winning a potential Grand Slam this season? His ball striking and short game are at a completely different level than the rest of the fields he's playing.

Scheffler has played 35 competitive rounds in PGA Tour events this season (the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am was shortened to 54 holes because of weather) and still hasn't recorded a round over par. That's absurd.

"I try not to think about the past or the future too much," Scheffler said. "I love trying to live in the present. I've had a really good start to the year, and I hope that I can continue on this path that I'm on.

"I'm going to continue to put in the work that's got me here. I mean, yeah, that's pretty much it. I'm going to continue to put in the work, keep my head down. I like when I step up on the tee at a tournament, being able to tell myself that I did everything I could to play well and the rest isn't up to me."

Uggetti: Scheffler isn't just the best golfer in the world right now. He also seems to be the most self-aware and level-headed one, too. That's a dangerous combination. On Sunday, Scheffler showed he can win any tournament he plays in and that he has the perfect mindset to do it.

"I feel like playing professional golf is an endlessly not satisfying career," Scheffler said. "I wish I could soak this in a little bit more. Maybe I will tonight when I get home. But at the end of the day, I think that's what the human heart does. You always want more, and I think you have to fight those things and focus on what's good."

Don't get Scheffler wrong. He still wants to win. And he said as much, admitting how much he loves winning and hates losing. As if to prove his point, he's teeing it up at Hilton Head on Thursday and will undoubtedly be the favorite to win.

That's Scheffler's new reality, if it wasn't already before: He will be expected to win and questioned when he doesn't. But if anyone is prepared to shoulder those expectations, it's him. And if anyone has the game to keep winning, be it PGA Tour events or majors this year and beyond, it's him.

Is Rory ever going to complete the career Grand Slam?

Schlabach: I'm still a believer in Rory finally winning a green jacket and becoming only the sixth men's golfer to complete the career Grand Slam in the Masters era. I don't think his performance at Augusta National was a result of him buckling under pressure or wanting a green jacket too much. His current form just isn't great, and he knows it.

McIlroy carded a 1-under 71 in the first round and a 6-over 77 in the second. He didn't play well in the windy conditions, but he wasn't the only one who struggled. He has just one top-10 finish in seven tour events, so his results weren't great coming into Augusta National.

After Sunday's round, McIlroy said he was confident he can turn things around before he plays the final three majors. He's scheduled to play in this week's RBC Heritage and with Shane Lowry in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans team event April 25-28. It sounds like Rory is going to keep grinding to figure things out.

"Yeah, probably not the right time to be analytical at the moment, but I think as well if you're really going to make wholesale changes it's hard to play a lot of golf and make them at the same time," McIlroy said.

"I don't feel like I need to make wholesale changes. That's why I'm playing a lot. But if the time comes that I need to make wholesale changes with my golf swing and really try to reassess, it could be a six-month to a year process. ... I don't think I'm there yet, but there may come a time where I need to address that and really go back to the drawing board."

Uggetti: Everything about McIlroy's experience and talent indicates that he will win another major. Whether it can be at Augusta is a whole other question.

As the four-time major winner talked about this week, he has tried almost every different approach coming into the Masters -- arriving early, arriving late -- and though he has done everything from finish in the top-10 to miss the cut the past few years, he has yet to come close to winning.

"All I can do is come here and try my best," McIlroy said after his 1-under round Saturday. "That's what I do every time I show up. Some years it's better than others. I've just got to keep showing up and try to do the right thing."

Though McIlroy leaves Augusta with a tie for 22nd, there are several opportunities this year for him to add to his major total. He heads to Valhalla for the PGA Championship next, the site of his last major win in 2014. Familiarity hasn't done much for McIlroy at Augusta -- or elsewhere for that matter -- but his game is simply too good to not result in another major.

I'm curious to see how McIlroy approaches Augusta next year after another disappointing result. Will he play more? Will he play less? Will he see another swing coach? Or can he simply stay the course? This year, McIlroy was a firsthand witness to how Scheffler was able to conquer Augusta for the second time in three years.

McIlroy needs only one, but perhaps the key would be winning a major before Augusta. Of course, that's easier said than done, but if McIlroy can win at Valhalla or Pinehurst or Royal Troon, maybe some of the pressure surrounding this week can dissipate and allow him to freely chase after the coveted fourth major on his résumé.

Biggest winner(s) of the tournament?

Schlabach: Besides Scheffler, it has to be Sweden's Ludvig Åberg, who finished solo second at 7 under in his Masters debut. The former Texas Tech star was trying to become the first golfer to win the Masters in his debut since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

Aberg would have been only the third player to win a major championship in his first start since the Masters was first played in 1934 -- Ben Curtis (2003 Open Championship) and Keegan Bradley (2011 PGA Championship) are the others.

Aberg, 24, won the Omega European Masters on the DP World Tour in September, competed for the winning European Ryder Cup team in Rome, and then captured his first PGA Tour victory at the RSM Classic in November.

According to Data Golf, Aberg led the Masters field in strokes gained: putting (3.19) and was third in strokes gained: off the tee (1.66). He has a complete game.

"I think he showed why at the Ryder Cup," McIlroy said. "I think every stage throughout his very, very young career, he's shown that he belongs. Gets the win in Europe, plays the Ryder Cup, gets the win in the States, playing in his first Masters, contending on the back nine on Sunday. He's sort of proven at every stage that he's played at that he belongs."

Uggetti: Let's talk about Max Homa. Though the final result might not have been what Homa and his social media devotees wanted, the week was undoubtedly a win for him. For the first time at Augusta, Homa was in true contention, and that counts for something. He played great golf and managed his way around a tough course by showing he belongs as a top-10 player in the world.

Homa has learned to use patience to his advantage, and though this result will require even more patience, Homa is equipped to handle it.

"I thought I handled myself great," Homa said Sunday. "Really didn't feel like I blinked."

There are certainly shots Homa would like to have back -- such as the tee ball on 12 that resulted in a double bogey -- but in the face of Scheffler's dominance, Homa was able to find solace in how he competed all week and what it meant for his chances at future majors.

"I just feel like I learned. I feel like I took a big leap," Homa said. "The rhetoric on me, and this is from myself, as well, is I have not performed in these things, and I performed for all four days. I didn't throw a 65 in there and sneak my way in. I had to sleep on this every single day, this feeling and kind of this monkey on my back. For me, I think it'll change some things, and then in other ways it'll change nothing at all."

Biggest loser(s) of the tournament?

Schlabach: I'm not sure if anyone has had back-to-back endings at the Masters as painful as Justin Thomas' the past two seasons.

In 2023, JT carded bogeys on three of the last four holes to miss the cut at the Masters by 1 stroke, which left him standing under an umbrella in the rain with his arms crossed in disbelief.

This year, Thomas was in great shape to make the cut and possibly make a move on the weekend. But then he went 7 over on the final four holes to miss the cut by 1 stroke. That's going to sting for a while.

Uggetti: Several golfers finished below Jon Rahm this week, but plenty of golfers finished above him, too, including Scheffler, who beat Rahm by 20 shots. As a defending Masters champion, it's never easy to be the one who has to put the green jacket on the winner knowing full well you did not retain it.

But for Rahm, the dilemma goes beyond Butler Cabin. He showed up to Augusta having played less golf in the lead-up than any other year because of his departure to LIV Golf. It was unclear how much his game would suffer, if at all, from playing in 54-hole events and not tournaments like the Genesis Invitational, where he had also won in 2023.

Rahm looked sluggish, never seeming to find the ideal form to compete, let alone contend. It's difficult to repeat as a Masters champion, but it's also not a great sign that Rahm will leave Augusta and have to wait a week before heading to Australia and Singapore to play against worse fields in order to get ready for the next major in mid May.

Favorites for majors?

Schlabach: The next major championship, the PGA Championship on May 16-19, is going to require a complete game. Based on what I saw at Augusta National, I wouldn't be surprised to see Aberg pick up his first major. But for now, it's hard to pass up Scheffler. I'm tempted to pick him for one or two more. I'm just not sure how being a father for the first time will affect him.

As far as the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina on June 13-16, I'll go with Norway's Viktor Hovland, the reigning FedEx Cup champion. I know his game was a mess at the Masters, but his game sets up perfectly for Pinehurst No. 2. Hovland hits the ball long and accurately off the tee, and he's one of the best ball strikers in the world with an iron in his hand. There's plenty of time for him to get his form back in order before the U.S. Open.

Against perhaps better judgment, I'll pick McIlroy to win The Open at Royal Troon Golf Course in Scotland on July 18-21. McIlroy's major drought will be nearly 10 years long by then -- he last won at the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla -- and it has to end at some point.

He tied for fifth at Royal Troon in 2016 and for sixth at Royal Liverpool during Brian Harman's breakthrough major win in July 2023. He tied for fifth at the 2016 Open at Royal Troon and had two top-six finishes in the past two Opens.

Uggetti: The PGA Championship at Valhalla will be very familiar for Rory McIlroy -- who won his last major there in 2014 -- but after watching Ludvig Aberg chart his way around Augusta National Golf Club this past week, it's difficult not to see him having a real shot at any of the year's remaining three majors.

The 24-year-old golfer from Sweden has already shown he can compete at the PGA Tour level and this week, during his first Masters, he did nothing to dissuade the notion that he will be a major winner one day. Aberg hung in with the No. 1 player in the world, Scottie Scheffler, and ...

Speaking of Scheffler, when it comes to the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, there's little to no need to look past Scheffler whose ballstriking should shine on the famous No. 2 course. With improved putting and an underrated short game, I could see Scheffler replicating the kind of performance Martin Kaymer had in 2014, when he went wire-to-wire at Pinehurst to win the U.S. Open by eight shots.

Of all of this year's majors, the Open Championship at Royal Troon seems like the toughest to predict this far ahead. Weather will likely be a factor, and after watching Brian Harman dominate the field at Royal Liverpool, it could really be anyone's game in July. McIlroy should once again fair well, but I like Tommy Fleetwood's chances, too. He keeps getting close and just finished top 10 at the Masters, too.

What's next for Tiger?

Uggetti: Even after looking like a shell of himself Saturday and Sunday and finishing 16-over for the tournament, Woods didn't hesitate in verbally committing to the rest of the year's majors after his final round concluded.

"I'm going to do my homework going forward at Pinehurst, Valhalla and Troon, but that's kind of the game plan," Woods said.

What will likely be more telling is if Tiger plays any other events at all. He had played only 24 competitive holes of golf coming into Augusta and in some instances, the rust really showed this weekend. On Saturday, he looked to be laboring, and though he returned Sunday and appeared to be doing much better, the question of how his body will continue to hold up remains.

Woods, however, remains undeterred from continuing to improve and compete no matter what.

"Keep lifting, keep the motor going, keep the body moving, keep getting stronger, keep progressing," Woods said of what's next. "Hopefully the practice sessions will keep getting longer."

It's clear that the more golf Woods plays, the more prepared he will be for the majors in which he's still trying to compete. But it's not that easy when his body is still a daily obstacle he'll have to overcome. At least this week, he was able to finish 72 holes.

Schlabach: While posting the worst round of his Masters career (10-over 82) and worst 72-hole total as a professional (16-over 304) had to be humbling for the 15-time major champion, the fact that he finished a 72-hole tournament was a step in the right direction.

Outside of Saturday's third round, when he lost his swing and struggled in windy conditions, he didn't look that bad. He drove the ball well off the tee and had a really good short game. His iron play and putting looked rusty, but that was to be expected after he played only 24 competitive holes before the Masters.

The fact that Tiger set a Masters record with his 24th consecutive cut is pretty remarkable.