This time final 12 months, Xander Schauffele was on a tear.
He received the Travelers Championship on the PGA Tour. The subsequent week, he received the JP McManus Pro-Am. He beat Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler by 5 pictures and the newly minted United States Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick by 17.
When Schauffele confirmed up on the Renaissance Club for the Genesis Scottish Open, his stable play continued. He received the event by a shot, for his fourth victory in 12 months.
“It was probably one of the better months I’ve had in my career,” mentioned Schauffele, who went to San Diego State University and exudes a Southern California calm.
He returns to Scotland this 12 months a bit cooler, however nonetheless ranked sixth on this planet. He hasn’t received in a 12 months, however he has continued to play strongly.
The following interview has been edited and condensed.
You had been on a roll final 12 months. What was that like?
I performed the Travelers, then JP McManus Pro-Am in between, the place I performed rather well, after which I received the Scottish. I used to be in a actually good mind-set. I used to be hitting a lot of pictures I wished to hit, hitting a lot of putts the way in which I wished to. I felt like I used to be doing my finest, and that was ok to win. It was that calm feeling connected with actually good golf.
How do you translate profitable at River Highlands, one of many PGA Tour’s stadium programs, at which a lot of earth was moved to create the course, to the Renaissance Club, the place the architect Tom Doak took a extra minimalist strategy to the land and the terrain?
At River Highlands, you go from greens which might be slower and have a lot extra break to greens which might be quicker and extra nuanced. With Renaissance, it’s a little bit extra relaxed coming in. It’s not as penalizing as River Highlands [home to the Travelers] with all its contours. The solely factor that might translate is confidence.
Let’s speak scoring circumstances. How do you modify from going from plus 2 on the U.S. Open, (when minus 6 received it), to minus 19 on the Travelers and minus 7 on the Scottish Open?
It’s undoubtedly one thing you take note of earlier than the week begins once you’re coming into completely different greens. It’s the mentality. At River Highlands, once you make six or seven pars in a row, it’s a must to keep affected person as a result of different gamers are reeling off birdies. You need to beat the course every week. That’s one thing that comes into play. You have to remain affected person. It doesn’t all the time go your approach. Overseas you generally really feel unhealthy making par. But then you definately notice par goes to win.
You shot a record-tying 62 within the opening spherical of this 12 months’s U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club and a 70 the following day. Every golfer has carried out the equal of that. What was it like for you?
A 62 at that membership undoubtedly wasn’t one thing you anticipated. It was a setup factor. Through two rounds there have been a lot of low scores. Rickie [Fowler] and I doing it early made individuals really feel it was on the market. The most spectacular spherical was Tommy Fleetwood capturing 63 on Sunday. I used to be off to a heck of a begin, however no spherical was the identical. I didn’t modify accordingly. I obtained off to a quick begin, however then I began leaking oil.
What’s your plan to defend on the Scottish Open this 12 months?
I’m near some good kind. I’ve been scratching on the floor. When I come to a website the place I play effectively, I actually don’t attempt to suppose an excessive amount of about whether or not I received final 12 months or not. I’m excited to be again right here. I sometimes wish to play on laborious golf programs. But I’ve labored to make myself a believer that I may play effectively on any property.