Q&A with Xander Schauffele
Garrett Johnston: What were some of the positive takeaways from finishing as a runner-up in The Open Championship?
Xander Schauffele: More than anything else, I was trying to learn how to handle emotions. There’s a lot going on. Jordan [Spieth] and I got behind and started feeding off each other in the worst way possible. But then we both looked at each other on 9 and said,
“Alright dude, let’s get this horse back on track here.”
We both smiled and gave each other a little fist bump. We sort of righted the ship a little bit but there was a lot to recover from based on what we did on the front.
GJ: What did you learn in the final group on Sunday?
XS: It was great to be in that position and I had a ton of fun being in that position. And just having a chance coming down the stretch is really what I was proud of even with all we went through on the front nine. Of course, I look up at the board and I’ve got a couple holes to go and Francesco [Molinari] had cleaned everybody out at 8-under par and I thought,
“Oh boy, I got my back against the wall.”
I had chances and gave myself some good looks even though Carnoustie was playing tough. I had a birdie putt on the par 3 16 and just didn’t make it, and three holes prior to that I had an eagle putt that I lipped out. I’ve learned that if you want to win you need certain things to go your way, Francesco was just playing great golf.
GJ: Is there frustration with not coming through in a major?
XS: Yeah, because there’s only four of them. We put them on a pedestal and hype them up so much. Realistically, they are the way your career is measured. You can win 25 times in your career, but you’ll have nothing on a major champion. People will always remember and mention it, and it’s just something that you can take to your grave. So, they are really cool to play, and I think as a player you put pressure on yourself to win them.
GJ: Why do you play well in the U.S. Open and British Open?
XS: Yeah, it’s been a weird month or so. I feel like I haven’t really practiced as much as I’d want to. During The Open we planned a trip to Germany, and I’d never been to Germany, so we went to see family friends. Normally I’m grinding and practicing for a major, but I was just over in Germany hanging out, meeting some people for the first time and then I’m flying over to Scotland and then I just played really well. I feel like certain veterans have the formula, I thought I had my formula but based on these last few months I feel like I don’t have my formula at all now.
GJ: What are your thoughts on being a bubble boy for the Ryder Cup?
XS: The way I was brought up is to let your clubs talk. The way you handle yourself in those situations speaks to your character, that’s just how I was brought up. I’d rather get away from the politics and get on the team by playing. People either like you or don’t like you, you’re playing regardless.
GJ: Is the Ryder Cup qualifying on your mind?
XS: It’s funny, my dad asked me last week if I was nervous and was really pushing for it, and I wasn’t. I just got really impatient and I wasn’t happy with how I was playing. I think that’s an expectation that keeps building. The more you play well, the more you walk tall into a week…especially for me in my young career all these things add up. I think the 78 on Sunday [World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational] was a punch in the face and now we’re back to square.