Scottie Scheffler’s eyes welled with tears and he struggled
to get the words out.
Moments earlier, the 17-year-old Texan had been handed the
large silver cup as the new U.S. Junior Amateur champion. But the 3-and-2
final-match victory over Davis Riley at Martis Camp Club in Truckee, Calif.,
in which he overcame a late 2-hole deficit, wasn’t the sole cause of this outpouring
As a national audience looked on, Golf Channel reporter
Steve Burkowski finished his on-camera interview with the new champion by
asking Scheffler about James Ragan, his 20-year-old friend back in Houston.
Seven years ago Ragan, who competed with Scheffler on the
Texas Legends Tour, had been diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone
cancer. Since the two met on the golf course five years ago, Scheffler has
constantly remained in touch through phone calls, texts and emails. When Ragan
founded a charity, Triumph Over Kids Cancer in 2007, Scheffler actively supported
the initiative by constantly talking up the website (www.triumphoverkidscancer.org)
and participating in a charity golf event.
“It likely won’t save James’ life, but it will save many
other kids,” said Scheffler after his quarterfinal victory over P.J. Samiere.
“He has a chance. Not a great chance, but he’s a fighter.”
Scheffler showed resilience in winning his first major
junior title. After a series of runner-up finishes leading into the Junior
Amateur, he finally broke through at Martis Camp, a run that included a gritty
19-hole, third-round win over Justin Suh and a 1-up second-round triumph over
2012 Junior Amateur quarterfinalist Maverick McNealy. Scheffler plans to play
golf at the University
of Texas next fall.
Scheffler, who won the Junior Amateur in his fourth and
final year of eligibility, showed where his thoughts were by telling Golf
Channel he was thinking about Ragan even as he was hoisting the Junior Amateur
In May, Scheffler lost a close family friend, former PGA
Tour player Warren Aune, to cancer at the age of 58.
can be derived from many places. Scheffler found it in two individuals whose
fight was far bigger than his own.