There isn’t a hotter player on the planet entering the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews than Xander Schauffele.
Unfortunately, Schauffele admits himself, there may not be a more rushed player either.
“To be honest, [I feel] a bit rushed,” Schauffele said Sunday evening after winning the Scottish Open at the Renaissance Club.
The victory was Schauffele’s second straight on the PGA Tour as he also won the Travelers last month. In between the two official wins, he captured the two-day J.P. McManus Pro-Am in Ireland last Tuesday.
Yet, running on fumes and having never played the Old Course before, Schauffele is anxious as he gears up for another chance to win his first major championship.
“A lot of homework to do,” said Schauffele, who was set to drive over to St. Andrews once he finished up his winner’s obligations at the Scottish. “I have to use this time – going down at 11 o'clock at night – to my advantage to try to prepare to the best of my ability. Going to rely a lot on my caddie to do that. I'm tired. I've played a bit and I need a rest, and I need to get ready for the week. I'm not even thinking about Sunday quite yet. I need to prepare.”
While Schauffele is understandably feeling unprepared at the moment, he still realizes that the heater he’s currently on has its benefits, too. “Good golf is good golf,” he says, which may be an understatement considering Schauffele is playing great golf – three wins (he also won the Zurich Classic alongside Patrick Cantlay in April) and nothing worse than T-18 since missing the cut at the Masters.
He didn't have his best stuff for Sunday's final round, as he shot even-par 70, but his 65-66 performance on Friday and Saturday was impressive.
“Usually when I have more information, I feel more confident,” Schauffele said, “but at times when you don't know as much, sometimes you can use that to your advantage as well. We'll see how much preparation we can do.”
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Schauffele has a solid Open record, making all four of his cuts and nearly winning in 2018 at Carnoustie, where he shared second. He was T-26 last year at Royal St. George’s and T-20 in 2017 at Royal Birkdale.
Though he’s not yet teed it up at the Home of Golf, is aware of how special the upcoming week will be.
“Just being on property,” Schauffele said when asked what he’s looking forward to the most about the Old Course. “You know, I'm not really one to get too excited to go to a new golf course, but I'm pretty excited to go to that one. It's going to be nice to just walk on property. It would have been cool to go with no fans and then to see it with fans; I missed out on that, which I'm totally fine with. But I'm just excited to walk the course.”
Based on his recent form, he may be walking it late on Sunday, in front of thousands of fans and in no rush at all.