No. 9 Xander Schauffele says it sounds harsh, but he 'hasn't done a whole lot'

Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

No. 9 Xander Schauffele says it sounds harsh, but he 'hasn't done a whole lot'

PGA Tour

No. 9 Xander Schauffele says it sounds harsh, but he 'hasn't done a whole lot'

By

Xander Schauffele loves the big stage.

He won the 2019 Sentry Tournament of Champions in Maui with a closing 62. Won the 2018 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in China in a playoff. Won the 2017 Tour Championship in Atlanta by one over Justin Thomas, that year’s FedExCup champion.

He finished one shot back of Tiger Woods in this year’s Masters, tied for third in the U.S. Open at Pebble and was second in the Tour Championship at East Lake. He also tied for second in the 2018 British Open at Carnoustie and in the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

The bigger the stage, the better for Schauffele, who at 26 is a four-time winner on the PGA Tour and ranked No. 9 in the world.

FORWARD PRESS PODCAST: David Dusek and Steve DiMeglio discuss Tiger Woods and his win at the Zozo and what it means going forward

Trouble is, Schauffele is thirsting to deliver his best performances on more stages.

“If I just would be in contention more, that would be awesome,” Schauffele said. “I don’t even think I’ve held a 54-hole lead. So the way I look at it and the way my team looks at it, I haven’t really done a whole lot.

“It’s a little bit harsh, but it’s just sort of how I’m judged at certain times by either my dad or people on my team that give me advice, and it’s true at times. I didn’t hit some of my goals last year. It was definitely a year to build off of.”

Schauffele will sit with his team before the end of the year to assess how he can move forward in his quest for more consistency, figure out what little things he can do to be a contender away from the game’s biggest stages.

“My wins are more come from behind. That’s sort of where I’m comfortable,” Schauffele said. “In order for me to become more of an elite player and more of an established name, it would be important for me to sort of play to what I know I can do at certain times versus trying to be the come-from-behind kid.

“If I’m in a good mental spot and my game’s in a good spot, I should be able to go out and sort of showcase what I can do more often.”

Until he meets with his team, however, he’ll work with what he’s got – which is still up there in the world-class neighborhood. And that begins with his title defense this week in the HSBC Champions at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai. Last year he beat Tony Finau in a playoff.

“There’s a little added pressure in defending a title, but at the same time, a level of comfort is there because I’ve won there before,” said Schauffele, who tied for 10th in last week’s Zozo Championship in Japan, his first competitive action in seven weeks. “I’ll look back on the shots I hit last year, the putts we’ve made.

Xander Schauffele (left) leans on his caddie on the 1st tee during the third round of the 2019 BMW Championship. Photo: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

“My game’s OK. I played a lot of golf at home before Japan. I know how to get the ball into the hole. The game’s not in the best shape. I have to work on some little things and I will.”

Another huge stage awaits in Australia, where Schauffele and his U.S. teammates captained by Tiger Woods face the Internationals the second week of December at Royal Melbourne. It will be Schauffele’s debut wearing the red, white and blue. And if Woods selects himself as a captain’s pick, Schauffele could partner with Woods, who won his 82nd PGA Tour title at the Zozo.

“I’ve never been on any team in my whole life, so I’m anxious, nervous, excited,” he said. “All the guys on the team get along, which is a blessing.

“Tiger, he’s a pretty cool guy. I have no idea in terms of what the picks are going to do and whatnot, but I don’t think that really matters because I think we’ll show up with a team that’s ready to play and compete. I’ve always wanted to go to Australia as well, so it’s sort of a win-win again for me. Just living a good life, I guess.”

Latest

More Golfweek
Home