Despite still feeling slighted by the R&A following their disagreement at The Open, Xander Schauffele says he just wants to put the whole incident behind him.
Schauffele, ranked 11th in the world, is one of the more laid back figured on the PGA Tour and rarely finds himself involved in any controversies on or off the course, but that wasn’t the case at Royal Portrush last week.
The 25-year-old admitted he was angered by how he was treated by the R&A after his driver was deemed to be non-conforming on the eve of The Open, having failed a test introduced last year to limit the spring effect on driver heads.
While he didn’t have a problem with being forced to replace the club, he was unhappy with the news being made public.
“The R&A, they pissed me off because they attempted to ruin my image by not keeping this matter private. This is me coming out and treating them the exact way they treated me,” he said at the time.
“The R&A didn’t do their job in keeping it private. So I don’t feel like I should — I can tell you right now what happened or what I know. It is an unsettling topic.
“I’ve been called a cheater by my fellow opponents. It’s all joking, but when someone yells ‘cheater’ in front of 200 people, to me it’s not going to go down very well.”
Speaking on the eve of this week’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, Schauffele said he’s ready to put the whole matter behind him.
“I feel like I’ve said my piece and made peace with the R&A,” he said. “My agent has had a word with them. They were respectful with not wanting to bug me too much (last week). (But) we’ve met with them and are willing to work with them.
“I think in the long run, it’ll all work out.”
Other PGA Tour pros have been vocal in their support of Schauffele.
Brandt Snedeker revealed his driver has been tested at the British Open two years in a row.
“I totally understand where Xander’s coming from,” he said. “I haven’t had any issues, but I’ve been close. But I totally get it. If someone questions my integrity, I’m gonna fire back at ‘em. People are saying he shouldn’t have done that, and I’m like, ‘Well, why?’ The R&A can get away with questioning a player’s integrity, but a player can’t come back at ‘em?
“It doesn’t make sense to me.”
World No 9 Justin Thomas believes there’s an easy solution.
“I think that’s on the manufacturers to make sure that (the clubs) are tested and that they are conforming,” he said. “Because that’s not fair to the rest of the field if guys are using some and some aren’t. We don’t have those tests just sitting in our living room (where) we can do them when we get home.”
Schauffele said he was thankful for the support from his fellow players.
“A lot of them have come up to me, like, ‘It’s a bit of a rough go, but we’re happy you stood up for yourself,’” he said. “A few veterans saying that goes a long way. It makes me feel better about what I did. I just want the best for everyone. I don’t think there are any hard feeling on either side.”
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