Why Xander Schauffele hasn’t closed door on jumping to LIV Golf

CROMWELL, Conn. — Xander Schauffele is aware of the rumors have been flying just like the majestic strategy photographs he launched onto all 18 of the TPC River Highlands greens in regulation Thursday on the Vacationers Championship.

Schauffele — at age 28, ranked fifteenth on this planet, a five-time PGA Tour winner who’s completed inside the highest seven of eight main championships since 2017 — has been a chief goal for the Greg Norman-led LIV Golf tour.

He checks each field for LIV Golf: younger, already achieved as an Olympic gold medal winner and in his prime.

Phrase on the road amongst some gamers and caddies is that Schauffele will ultimately comply with Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson, three fellow gamers within the prime of their careers who’ve made the leap to the deep-pocketed, Saudi-backed tour that’s ruffling the feathers of the PGA Tour institution.

Schauffele has had rather a lot on his thoughts of late.

You’d by no means realize it by the 7-under-par 63 he posted within the first spherical of the Vacationers, leaving him one shot behind Rory McIlroy and J.T. Poston.

It was, certainly, a spectacular begin for Schauffele. However questions linger about the place he goes from right here. Not the following three days on the Vacationers, however after that. To LIV or to not LIV?

Xander Schauffele hits a tee shot on the 12th hole during the first round of the Travelers Championship.
Xander Schauffele hits a tee shot on the twelfth gap in the course of the first spherical of the Vacationers Championship.
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“I’m very comfy with the place I’m at proper now … on the PGA Tour,’’ Schauffele instructed The Submit after his spherical in a clear, wide-ranging interview. “You’ve acquired to type of converse in generalities, clearly, so that you don’t get your self in hassle [later].’’

Translation: See Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, all of whom mentioned “no’’ in public to the Saudis earlier than they lastly caved in for his or her respective costs and mentioned “sure’’ — strikes that sabotaged their credibility.

Schauffele hasn’t closed the door on LIV Golf, and he’s unafraid about letting that be identified.

“I used to be in touch with them, however truthfully, it’s been a very long time,’’ Schauffele mentioned. “Initially, I used to be in touch with them, however not too long ago I haven’t been.’’

Schauffele conceded “you do wrestle with your self’’ about whether or not to stay with established order or go for the cash. Phil Mickelson was paid a reported $200 million to affix, Johnson a reported $125 million and DeChambeau $100 million.

“My coronary heart is telling me to remain right here, and it’s telling me to simply make this tour the absolute best,’’ Schauffele mentioned. “Clearly, I can’t individually do this. I need assistance from different gamers, and I need assistance from the commissioner, Jay [Monahan], and everybody else on employees to consider that this tour goes to be the perfect and they should maintain it the perfect.’’

Xander Schauffele
Xander Schauffele
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Schauffele lauded Monahan for his Tuesday announcement about elevated match purses and a condensed schedule, parts that cater to the tour’s prime gamers, saying that announcement “could also be useful to maintain guys on this tour.

“However it might probably’t cease there,’’ he added. “You bought to maintain pushing.’’

Schauffele then boldly went to a spot no different gamers have gone. He referred to as on the 4 main championships to comply with Monahan’s lead in growing purses.

“The majors have by no means revealed their funds,’’ he mentioned. “If the Memorial, Genesis and Arnold Palmer can soar from $12 million to $20 million [purses], then I darn positive know these majors can go larger.’’

Schauffele mentioned he “believes everybody has a quantity’’ that will lure them to LIV Golf, however he mentioned he doesn’t know what his is.

“I’m 28 and I really like enjoying golf, and the safer aspect is clearly to remain on this tour and make this tour higher,’’ he mentioned. “If I have been to get some ridiculous supply from the opposite aspect, it might in all probability make me suppose. However on the identical time, I’ve actually acquired to consider why I wish to be right here, and why I’m motivated to follow and get higher.’’

He mentioned he’s spent a lot time speaking to his “workforce’’ and his spouse, Maya, about whether or not to remain or go.

“I’ve requested her many instances, ‘Do you suppose I wish to play for cash?’ ” Schauffele mentioned. “I don’t thoughts earning money, however my real love is for the sport. And that places me in a difficult spot.’’

A part of the tug to remain on the PGA Tour is that this: For at the least the foreseeable future, LIV Golf can not probably create the electrical energy the sport delivered Sunday at The Nation Membership within the U.S. Open remaining spherical.

“It truly is about custom,’’ Schauffele mentioned. “The majors aren’t even a part of the PGA Tour, however I really feel like they run parallel. It comes right down to how conventional of a person are you versus how progressive do you wish to be?

“The PGA Tour has type of been caught in being very conventional, and so they’ve been extra progressive, making an attempt to vary and get higher. They are saying the opposite tour just isn’t a risk, however why else would they be dancing so quick to make strikes?

“I’m not against them turning into just a little bit extra proactive versus reactive.’’

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