November 9, 2021 - 2:06 pm
In many ways, 2021 has been one of the best years of Xander Schauffele’s life. He got married, moved to his new home in Las Vegas, won an Olympic gold medal and starred on the victorious U.S. Ryder Cup team.
But on the PGA Tour, Schauffele was anything but satisfied. He had eight top-10 finishes, including three seconds, and earned more than $5.2 million. But without a win, the year left a bad taste in his mouth.
Such are the expectations of the world’s No. 5 player.
Schauffele, 28, announced in early July that he had married his longtime girlfriend, Maya Lowe, and the couple had moved to Las Vegas. The decision to leave his lifelong home of San Diego was not difficult, he said.
“The move was easy. A lot of it had to do with the in-laws,” he said. “Wherever her parents were — they were in Austin, Texas, a little bit, and we used to go there for Thanksgiving and Christmas — so wherever they were going to end up, we were going to follow. So that’s basically what we did.”
And Schauffele couldn’t be happier with his new hometown and a house tucked in the foothills.
“We have a house here. It’s quiet. It’s very dark at night, no street lights,” he said. “I really enjoy sort of almost the tranquillity of peacefulness up on this western side.”
Schauffele said he avoids the Strip unless friends come to town and want to go.
“I’m typically one to sort of be tucked away and quiet with my wife, my dogs and I,” he said. “That’s sort of what we like to do. I very much enjoy spending time here.”
When Schauffele is not at home, he’s working on his craft. That usually happens at Southern Highlands, where he is a member, or at TPC Las Vegas, where he practices at the back of the facility.
That dedication to improve has led to four wins in five seasons on the PGA Tour, including the Tour Championship in 2017 and a World Golf Championship event in 2019.
It also earned him a gold medal in Tokyo this summer, his one victory in a year he otherwise found frustrating.
“I feel not that I failed on the PGA Tour season, but I didn’t really accomplish what I wanted to,” he said.
He called the year interesting, to be feeling joy at the Olympics and Ryder Cup, but disappointed at what he labeled regressing in regular PGA Tour events.
“So a weird, sort of, weird space that I’m in mentally, but overall I think celebrating the Ryder Cup win with my teammates sort of got me over the edge of feeling like I failed this season,” he said.
And celebrate he did.
“We let it all hang loose there in the end, and we all had a really good time,” he said. “My wife said she hasn’t seen me this bad since college.”
Since the Ryder Cup, Schauffele played the CJ Cup in Las Vegas, then flew to Japan for the Zozo Championship. That’s it, he said, until he tees it up in competition at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January.
He hopes that’s the start of a new year that includes getting a win under his belt. Until then, he’s perfectly happy in the peace and quiet of his new home.
* Las Vegas Golf Club will host a two-person scramble Nov. 21 with an 8 a.m. shotgun start. Cost is $138 per team, and Nov. 18 is the entry deadline.
* Brent Pendleton and Brian Edwards won the Legacy Men’s Club’s annual member-guest event. The team of Harry Helfrich and Pat Burke was second.
Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com.
What: Houston Open.
When: Thursday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (Golf Channel).
Where: Memorial Park Golf Course, Houston.
Prize money: $7 million (Winner, $1.35 million).
Defending champion: Carlos Ortiz.
PGA Tour Champions
What: Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
When: Thursday-Sunday, 1-3:30 p.m. (Golf Channel).
Where: Phoenix Country Club.
Prize money: $2.5 million (Winner, $440,000).
Defending champion: Kevin Sutherland.
What: Pelican Women’s Championship.
When: Thursday, Friday, 7-10 a.m. (Golf Channel). Saturday, Sunday, 4:30-7:30 p.m. (Golf Channel, tape delay).
Where: Pelican Golf Club, Belleair, Fla.
Prize money: $1.75 million (Winner, $262,500).
Defending champion: Sei Young Kim.