Nine years after the last victory of a German golfer on the PGA Tour, Stephan Jäger had to tremble until the last second. The Munich-born professional missed the chance for a birdie on the 18th hole and gave world number one Scottie Scheffler the opportunity to equalize – but the Texan made a mistake from just one and a half meters at the tournament in Houston and took his first PGA Tour victory Hunter’s perfect.

“I assumed he would do it. But I’m not mad at all that he didn’t go in,” joked Jäger at the press conference after the biggest success of his career. “A dream week, of course.”

“It’s a great feeling and I’m very happy. I couldn’t have dreamed of a better scenario to end up against the number one in the world – that’s a good golfer,” he said. In the end, Scheffler had to share second place with four other golfers after 269 strokes, while Jäger was at the top with 268 strokes and a final round of 67 and was able to celebrate with his wife Shelby and 16-month-old son Harrison Fritz. Since Alex Cejka on March 8, 2015, no German golfer has won on the PGA Tour.

Jäger is now looking forward to participating in the Masters

In addition to the 1.638 million US dollars in prize money (around 1.517 million euros), hunters also received a large crystal glass trophy – and the right to start in the Masters in Augusta. “This has been a dream of mine for a long time,” reported the 34-year-old. He has had several opportunities to play on the course, but has always avoided it. “I always said I wouldn’t go there except for the Masters. I’m very happy.” But now he wants to check whether he can play training rounds in the US state of Georgia to prepare.

Due to the mishap, Scheffler ultimately missed his third tournament victory in a row. No golfer on the PGA Tour had achieved this in seven years. “I’m obviously a little disappointed now. I just read it wrong, I don’t know why,” he said. Scheffler immediately congratulated Jäger and the wives of the two athletes also exchanged congratulations in front of the clubhouse at the Memorial Park Golf Course.

As a teenager, Jäger switched to playing golf at an American high school in Tennessee, where he still lives today. His German is still fluent, but now has an audible American twang. Americans pronounce his name so that it sounds like “Steven.”

Wife and son “the two most important people”

Despite two shared third places this year, the great success had not been announced recently. At The Players Championship two weeks ago, Jäger failed to make the cut. “I was mentally exhausted after the Players. That was my fourth week on hard courses. I just needed a break and a few days away from golf,” he reported. He didn’t touch his golf clubs for a week – and moved into a new house with his family.

His wife Shelby, with whom he has been in a relationship since 2015, has been with him through all the ups and downs. “My son is 16 months old. My wife has been by my side for much longer. She has seen the worst and the victories on the Korn Ferry Tour. Being able to celebrate with the two most important people in my life is great,” said Jäger. “I hope I can do it again when he’s of an age where he can remember.”