Xander the Great: Schauffele joins the rising generation of golf


KAPALUA, Hawaii (Swing Update) – To say that Xander Schauffele has come a long way depends on the view.

Eighteen months ago, Schauffele had played 18 times on the PGA Tour and had missed the cup in half of them. But having equalized for the fifth time at his first American Open at Erin Hills, the 25-year-old from San Diego has taken his place among the new generation of golf stars.

Schauffele earned his fourth PGA Tour victory Sunday by winning two shots for the eagle. He nearly hoarded two more. He finished with two birdies for a win of under 62 to win the Sentry Champions Tournament in Kapalua. He tied the planting course record and set tournament records for the lowest closing round by a winner and the most significant return in the last 18 holes (five shots).

This victory, his second of the PGA Tour season after his HSBC title last fall, propelled him to 6th place worldwide.

"That's what you dream of," said Schauffele after his win over Gary Woodland. "But in fact, it's great – I can see myself doing it, but it's hard to believe to sit around talking about it."

Alex Nakajima, Managing Director of Kapalua Resort, attended the presentation of the trophy and the view is much longer than 18 months.

He first saw Schauffele even before the boy could hold a golf club. It was in 1994, when Nakajima was a professional assistant in Princeville, on Kauai. The club had just hired Stefan Schauffele as an assistant, who had never finished his PGA certification, but who knew enough about golf, passion and determination to pass it on to his son.

"It's great," said the father as he talked about his brief visit to Kauai and friends who were in Kapalua to witness the moving charge Sunday.

Schauffele is not carried away by shooting, but he is not surprised at his progress for 18 months, or from 8 years and his father refuses to let him play without being able to wear it. his own bag.

He is also not willing to invest in the category of the best young golfers.

He is part of the legendary high school class of 2011, which includes Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger. Spieth and Thomas have already come first and won major tournaments. That's where Schauffele wants to go.

Even being mentioned in this group, he said, has "some kind of strange sound."

In four wins, he overcame a three-shot deficit to win the Greenbrier Classic, a two-shot deficit to beat Thomas in the Tour Championship in 2017, a three-shot deficit to win his first Shanghai World Golf Championship title. five-shot deficit to defeat the winners' pack at Kapalua.

Bryson DeChambeau, 25, has four wins on the PGA Tour. He has a place ahead of Jon Rahm, 24, who has two wins on the PGA Tour and three on the European circuit.

"I always feel like an outsider," said Schauffele. "I've got the impression that until you're # 1, you go on, so guys like Bryson and Justin … JT put together a ton of good years." Brooks (Koepka) crushed them, they continue to put this flag on, so I can go on, and I feel like that's what I was doing. "

Has anyone seen him coming when he won the playoffs for one of the last places of the 2017 US Open at Erin Hills?

"I really was not surprised," said his father, Schauffele's only coach. "I was hoping he could win the first year and we were going to see from there, the top 50 was a goal, and now he's progressing a little faster, you'll only know when you there will be. "

Young man, Stefan Schauffele was invited to train for the decathlon with the German team. He was trying to master the pole vault when he was hit by a drunk driver while he was going to the training center and lost his left eye.

He also lost the opportunity to compete in his favorite activities: skiing, diving, weightlifting, anything that could put him under pressure. When he moved to San Diego, he ended up living next to a golf course and was intrigued by the sport because the ball was not moving.

And then he became addicted. He spent two years in Hawaii and returned to San Diego where he shared the party with his son.

Schauffele was the rookie of the year on the PGA Tour in 2017 and his father was never more proud.

"Dreams come true – his and mine," said the father that year. "It's the same dreams – climbing as high as you can in your sport, which was denied to me because of an accident, so I've never discovered it. is a fact.A power like a father seeing your son get up, it's wonderful. "

The next question is how far is he going. For the moment, Schauffele gets up and continues the flags.