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Jun 4, 2024 7:01 pm

Xander Schauffele doesn’t feel defined by recent PGA Championship

Xander Schauffele

Following a publicized switch away from his father Stefan as his primary coach, Xander Schauffele might have reveled in keeping parts of his life constant.

After beginning to work with accomplished coach Chris Como and winning his first major tournament at the PGA Championship almost immediately after, Schauffele was asked Tuesday about how life has changed coming into the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio.

He revealed that since the PGA, he has been able to take a rare moment of rest.

“I feel really lucky to be able to win and have two weeks off after,” Schauffele said. “Not everyone’s so fortunate to be in that position where they can kind of unwind, decompress and look around and kind of take it in a little bit more.”

Was the rest needed?

“Me being tired means I’m doing my job.”

The 30-year-old didn’t spend a lot of time in reflection, by his own admission. He was most relieved by the relative sameness of the recent experience, telling his wife at one point that it was “great” that “nothing feels different.”

“You know, like our life feels the same, and that was a really nice feeling,” Schauffele said.

It was in keeping with his personal philosophy that, despite becoming a major champion, little had changed for him. While outsiders might lean into defining him differently going forward, to Schauffele, players are defined more by their play than their results.

Perhaps that’s easier to say for an eight-time winner on the tour, but the PGA Championship itself represented to Schauffele an improvement in his game, and that’s what matters to him going forward.

“Winning a tournament’s just truly a result, it really is,” Schauffele explained. “I think what separates guys out here are the ability for them to hit certain shots. I think when you look at someone like Scottie (Scheffler) or Rory (McIlroy) or you just run through all the top players, when they’re playing at a really high level, they separate themselves from the field. They either do it by putting like Wyndham (Clark), when Wyndham was making 200 feet of putts, or driving it like Rory, hitting it way up in the sky and outhitting every golf course and everyone that you’re playing. Scottie, just wearing out all his irons and every fairway.

“So, I feel like I’ve entered a little bit more of that space just playing. I feel like my game has definitely become a little bit more elite, just the way I was able to work my way around (Quail Hollow) for starters and then Valhalla under a little bit more pressure that week. The major really is just a result, it doesn’t really change how I feel about myself or anything like that. I think the quality of shots you’re able to hit is what determines that.”

As for his coaching switch-up, Schauffele credits all parties for making it work to this point.

In the final analysis, it comes down to trust.

“The way I feel about it or felt about it and me trusting Chris, obviously comes from my dad trusting Chris too,” Schauffele said. “Chris has been an awesome communicator. He’ll call my dad every once in a while just to talk to him about certain tendencies I have of overdoing something or something of that nature. Whether he’s just including him in making him a part of it or not, you know, that’s sort of on Chris to make those calls.”

–Field Level Media

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