KORN FERRY TOUR INSIDER
Xander Schauffele appears to be catching fire at the right time
The California native sits 27th on on the money list heading to Overland Park
August 03, 2016
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- August 03, 2016
- (Ryan Young/Getty Images)
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Last week at the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae, Xander Schauffele gave it all he had.
Unfortunately it wasn’t enough, as he – along with everyone else in the field – was topped by a record-setting performance by Stephan Jaeger.
But Schauffele, who finished tied for third (his second-straight finish in the third-place position) was undeterred.
“We were joking on 18. I said, ‘that’s all I got man,’” he says with a laugh Wednesday from the Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate, as Schauffele started the final round 6-under through six. “But I’m definitely taking a huge positive from it.”
Schauffele – whose mother is from Taiwan (but grew up in Japan) and whose father is half French and German, hence the last name that no one can pronounce, he says – turned professional in June 2015.
“My success hasn’t really settled in, which might be a good thing. But it’s been such a rookie year,” he says.
Schauffele has missed the same amount of cuts this year (8) as he’s made. But, he sits 27th on the money list, just over $4,000 from the magical 25th spot
“I was playing decent all year, but I missed cuts, randomly. I managed to miss a cut in every way, shape, and form,” he says. “I avoided the mistakes I was making all year (the last two weeks).”
Schauffele admits the earlier stretch this season where he missed seven out of nine cuts was fatiguing.
“The weeks got long,” he says. “You only play two rounds, you don’t get the experience, you’re already at the next golf course and no one else is there. All your friends are making cuts and you’re like, ‘OK.’”
Schauffele managed to secure Web.com Tour status this year by finishing tied for 45th via Q-School (right on the number, he says with a smile) and has learned a lot his first time through the Tour’s schedule.
“I thought I was rather mature coming out here, I learned that I wasn’t,” he says with a laugh. “I thought I could handle pressure, but I learned that I couldn’t. I fell flat on my face a couple of times, which sucked.”
But Schauffele has always had a solid team to support him through his journey, and it starts with family.
Schauffele’s father has been his only swing coach throughout his golf career, and now acts as a jack-of-all-trades for his son: swing coach, co-manager, mental coach and more. This, despite the fact that his father is also at the helm of Bella, a company that makes ball markers with Swarovski Crystals.
And it was Schauffele’s father who got him into the game.
“I hated team sports,” admits Schauffele. “My Dad played golf but he wouldn’t let me come play with him until I could carry my own bag. I didn’t take golf too seriously until I was 15-ish, where I threw all my eggs in one basket.”Schauffele is proving that he has the game to compete at the highest levels of golf. (Ryan Young/Getty Images)
Schauffele also spent one year with J.J. Spaun in college, and he’s been able to lean on Spaun for some Tour advice so far this season as well.
“I roomed with him in New York and that guy is just ready to go,” Schauffele says. “It’s more hanging out with him that’s rubbed off on me as opposed to just talking to him. He’s just so confident and he walks the walk. He doesn’t hesitate or freak out, and that was good for me to see.”
Spaun isn’t surprised to have seen Schauffele’s recent successes, especially considering the 22-year-old won the 2015 Northern California Open, which was considered a TOUR event in the 1920’s.
“I knew his game was there, and he’s getting to a point with his game where he’s overall just solid, and capable of winning every single week,” explains Spaun. “I knew it would happen eventually, he just had to get adjusted to life on Tour, and I guess it’s the same for everyone. I wasn’t surprised at how he’s played the last couple weeks.”
Ryan Donovan, who is the coach at San Diego State, says the school was “lucky” to get Schauffele to come to their school, as he played at Long Beach State his first year.
“His confidence, overall, has always been there. And I think his work ethic as well,” explains Donovan. “I just know he’s going to be on the TOUR someday.”
“It’s just a matter of time. He hits it long, he hits it straight, and for him, it’s just a matter of timing to learn how the system works. He feels confident right now,” Donovan continues.
Schauffele says he had his most successful year in college during his senior season because he had been playing the same courses for four years, and he was comfortable.
On the Web.com Tour, he’s still learning the ropes, but so far, he’s been enjoying himself. Now, he’s just looking to continue to ride the wave of his recent momentum.
“This is all new to me. I don’t have any bad tastes in my mouth from previous experiences,” he says. “I’m just going to let it ride and try to stay hot.”