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Equipment Report

    Schauffele in contention after driver ruled non-conforming

  • Xander Schauffele was found to have an illegal driver during The Open Championship. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)Xander Schauffele was found to have an illegal driver during The Open Championship. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Xander Schauffele, in contention this weekend at The Open Championship, said it was “a little bit unfair” after his driver was ruled nonconforming during random testing by the R&A going into this week’s tournament at Royal Portrush.

After finding a new driver, Schauffele was 3 under through 36 holes, then moved inside the top 10 of the leaderboard midway through Saturday’s third round.

Schauffele was found to have an illegal driver during random testing. The event’s governing body selected 30 drivers from the field of participants to test for conformity, and Schauffele’s driver did not pass. After finding out that his driver was deemed non-conforming, Schauffele scrambled to find a new driver, and he expressed his displeasure with the testing process.

“I had a little bit of a run-in with [the R&A] because they only test 30 players,” Schauffele said. “I thought it was a little bit unfair. I would gladly give up my driver if it's not conforming. But there's still 130 other players in the field that potentially have a nonconforming driver, as well.”

The USGA and the R&A have rules in place to limit the CT (characteristic of time) of a driver face, and last year, the R&A began testing the drivers of Open Championship participants during the week of the event. Of the 30 players tested in 2018, no drivers were found non-conforming. In 2019, however, Schauffele’s driver was found to be illegal; Schauffele said his Callaway driver “barely missed” being under the limit.

Schauffele said he confronted the R&A about its testing process.

“Had a word with them and hopefully they take my comments seriously and my concern just because it wasn’t my plan to show up Monday morning of a major … sorry, it was Tuesday event where I was doing driver testing here. It’s not really what players want to be doing,” he said.

Schauffele then offered a solution in his press conference: “Just test the whole field. It’s plain and simple.”

 “We offer the testing as a service to players so that they can ensure that their drivers conform,” the R&A said, according to the Golf Channel. “We believe that 30 is a reasonable sample and a practical option for conducting this process in the week of a major championship.”

With an Open Championship to play, and a driver that was ruled nonconforming, Schauffele tested different driver heads on Wednesday to find one that he was comfortable with to use in competition. After his opening-round 3-over 74, Schauffele said his driver wasn’t matching, but he got it figured out before his second-round 6-under 65 that tied for the lowest round of the week.

“(Thursday), it wasn't really matching my bag, which was a bummer,” Schauffele said. “I was getting a little upset on the golf course. I was testing a little bit on the range again (on Friday) with two different heads but moved a few weights around and sort of found a good setting.”

After his second round, Schauffele explained his thoughts moving forward: “I have a legal driver now and I sort of put that one to rest, and happy to see that ball performing like it did today or the driver performing like it did today, so that was very comforting. Like I said, it will get better every day. We’ve still got two more.”