Target in sight, Xander Schauffele’s tactic, ‘Lock into the moment’

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Xander Schauffele - TheGolfingHub
Xander Schauffele captured his sixth PGA Tour title at the Travelers Championship. Photo: PGA Tour

Listen to Xander Schauffele’s post-match interaction to get an insight into what drives a champion athlete:

We would like to welcome the champion of the 2022 Travelers Championship, Xander Schauffele. Exciting finish. Just a couple of bullets before we ask you a question or two. Sixth PGA TOUR win. Second this season. Number 8 in the FedExCup. First individual title in, what was it, four or five years? So congratulations.

Xander: Don’t remind me.

The question that I wanted to ask you was, waiting on that 18th tee watching all that unfold in front of you, just talk about that a little bit and how that played out.

Related: Fourth-time lucky for Xander Schauffele at Travelers

Xander: Yeah, my mind was telling me hit a good drive and you’re going to have a sand wedge or lob wedge in there and a really good look at birdie with thatpin kind of on the slope. And to sit there and watch sort of what happened was a bit of a shock obviously. I really had to try and focus on the task at hand. And sitting there waiting, sort of watching, not really knowing what’s going on, but kind of having an idea is a strange thing. So was
happy to just hit that tee shot straight down the fairway.

 

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As I mentioned this is the first individual title in a few years. You won the Olympics, you won a team event with your good friend Patrick. Just what does this mean to you now to sort of move on and win that individual title that you’ve been looking for?

Xander: It feels really good. Everyone talks about how hard it is and I only had the Olympics to sort of fall back on having a lead and kind of closing it. I’ve never done it on the PGA TOUR. So it was nice to sort of — I mean to do it in Japan and then
sort of have that experience, I really tapped into that today.

 

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Seems like you have to really stay focused and stay in the moment for what you experienced today. Not only watching the putt on 17 but the drive on 18. Has
that always been a strength of yours or is that something that’s developed as you’ve become more experienced?

Xander: I think it’s probably something that’s been more developed. I haven’t really had a hard time focusing growing up. My wife tells me I’m the worst multi-tasker on the planet so that usually bodes well if you can only focus on one thing. I think in the past when I had 54-hole leads or close to the lead my Sundays feel really fast. And I’d be kind of sitting
back in the hotel or at a house on Sunday sort of thinking, what happened today? So this week I really wanted to stay present and really just focus on sort of the task at hand, which was each and every shot. And I told Austin to hold me accountable on the first hole walking up there and he did a really great job and both of us were pretty much dialed in from the first hole.

Can you talk about the pressure after that on the 17th. You had the lead pretty much the whole time, but it started to shrink. You see him take the lead on 17. Can you talk about that and ability to come back from that?

Xander: No, I mean being out here, I’ve been out here long enough, this is my sixth year on TOUR, and you just know that no one’s going to give it to you, not out here on the PGA TOUR. No one is going to hand you a win. I was very aware of that and ready to birdie the last and I thought that was going to be to get in a playoff. So just lucky it was to make me on top.

When you’re watching on 18 tee did it make you more focused or did you have the same game plan in mind or did it change your game plan once you saw what he was doing?

Xander: I think I focused a little bit more. I was expecting him to par or birdie. He hits it a really long way. So if he hit it down the fairway he would have had a lob wedge in as well.
I knew the 18th hole is, even though it’s downwind, that left bunker is dangerous, as we saw. The right rough is probably the thickest on the property. So if for whatever reason you don’t hit a great tee shot there you’re trying to play for par. With the greens being firm and crusty you just never know what can happen. So I really just tried to worry about myself and the task at hand and I think Austin and I did a really good job of that.

 

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What are your goals the remainder of this season?

Xander: I think to win more. But I really think this was like, in a small way, this is a big win for me mentally. Just because I sort of had a to check myself, you know what I mean? When you’ve been out here and things are going easy you just expect to play well all the time. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back. And I thought I did that this week. Like I said, I don’t know if that’s the reason I won, but it definitely made me feel more comfortable and helped my process throughout the week.

 

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Broadcast showed you on 18 tee, looked like you had just a look in your eye like you were ready to go win this thing. Do you have like a zone or a place that you go to? We heard Tiger talk about that when he’s coming down the stretch. Do you have a place in your mind that you go mentally when you have to close something out like that?

Xander: You just lock in. I don’t really know how to describe it. Yeah, it sort of, after I saw what happened I knew that there’s a chance par would win, and birdie for sure. So I had to hit the fairway. So I was just so locked in that moment to hit that fairway and swing as
hard as I could off that tee. Nothing else really mattered. So I’m not really sure how to answer that.