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PGA Tour Inc.

10/18/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/18/2021 06:21

Big in Japan: Xander Schauffele ready for golden return

"I usually don't look at my numbers that soon, but we were at the Ryder Cup and they had all the numbers and I'm guilty of wanting to know what they are, so I just asked them and that's what they told me," Schauffele said. "So I told them thank you for the kick in the rear end to be better."

His drive and desire are in his suitcase this week in Japan and he's hoping the good memories flood back and help him to more success. He will also have the gold medal on hand - or more likely Stefan will have it nearby as it's been tough to pry it from his super proud father.

His next step is winning on TOUR again and where better than Japan. The Olympics helped him smash one bugaboo - that of not being able to close from in front. He held on to the gold medal after having the 54-hole lead. He hasn't been able to do that in the four occasions he's led with a round to play on TOUR.

"Whether it was a par-3 contest out here on TOUR, me winning with a lead, I just had to get over that hump and I was able to do it," he said. "And the magnitude of the event in Tokyo, obviously with my family and my dad and everyone there and me wanting it more and more and more as I would fail in final groups, there was a lot of pressure sitting up there. So for me to be able to pull it off, especially in that fashion, was a good feeling."

This week his dad, grandparents and mom will again make the trip to watch him play. And the local support has been generous because of his family ties. Outside the Japanese stars in the field, he may be their next favorite.

"Everyone's kind of done the quarantine and travel rules to support me, which is nice. It is extra special to return to Japan," he says of his family.

"And the fans will be the ones that also sort of make it special or make me relive my good moments. I remember the first time we played the ZOZO, I was paired with JT and Rory and it was like five to eight deep on the first hole and people are going nuts.

"The people in Japan love golf and it's always nice to play in front of them, even if it is a limited number. I'm looking forward to it for sure. It's always really cool to get announced on the first tee as the gold medalist and that will be like that for quite some time which is just nice and I'll take full advantage of that."

Given it's been a hectic year for Schauffele he could almost be forgiven for treating the tournament as a celebration week before taking a break. He says he hasn't really had a chance to let it all sink in. But his competitive nature doesn't allow for wasted weeks.

"I haven't really had an off season. My brain's still been in go mode. So I haven't really had time to sort of sit back and relax and take it all in," he says. "But I'm not going to make up the numbers. I'm going to try to win. I'm very competitive, I hate losing. Hopefully we can celebrate after another great week there."

Schauffele's goals don't stop there.

"A FedExCup, major championships, PLAYERS championship, multiple of those... that's just what I expect of myself and sort of why I get up and go through all the whole process every day," he adds.

Now that really would be bigger. And golden.