Xander Schauffele getting settled in Europe before big stretch

Xander Schauffele’s PGA Tour career hit a lull after winning the 2019 Sentry Tournament of Champions in January of that year.

He didn’t win again until April 2022 in New Orleans, which started a three-win season that culminated in a victory at the Scottish Open. For World No. 3 Schauffele, entered in the tournament again this week at The Renaissance Club in North Berwick, Scotland, that win represented a rebirth of his game and his confidence.

“Yeah, that was unique,” the 30-year-old said Tuesday in Scotland. “I didn’t win for a couple years. I was able to win stateside, and then to travel over here straight after and win again, it was really cool. I was super proud and something I’m still proud of, just to be able to win, of course, but also in (a) completely different country is a really tough thing to do and a testament to sort of consistency and good game planning.

“So it was a big win for my team and myself, and those back-to-backs are important.”

Schauffele has 11 top-10 finishes and one win in 2024 — the PGA Championship in May at Valhalla. But he said he always enjoys going back to Europe, where more fans are students of the game.

“Not that all fans don’t appreciate golf but there’s a deeper appreciation here,” Schauffele said. “They know what a good shot looks like.”

He didn’t have that much fun in Europe last fall, when the U.S. Ryder Cup lost to the Europeans outside of Rome. But he had lots of thoughts about the selection of Keegan Bradley to captain the U.S. team in 2025, when competition returns stateside to Bethpage Black in New York.

Bradley, 38, was named the Ryder Cup captain on Monday after Tiger Woods declined.

“Yeah, it’s surprising. You typically expect someone that’s a little bit older to get selected as a captain,” Schauffele said. “I think a lot of people were banking on Tiger to do it. He obviously has a lot on his plate.

“So Keegan expressed his love for the Ryder Cup publicly, which we all saw, and I’m sure — I haven’t talked to him or seen him yet, but I’m sure he’s over the moon and is going to do a great job.”

Schauffele said Bradley, by being younger, can help prepare his contemporaries for the Ryder Cup.

“I think having someone that’s a little bit younger, I’m going to look at it, I’m a glass-half-full guy,” Schauffele said. “And I think him playing and knowing sort of the trends on tour, you start to see a lot more recovery centers here. You start to see a lot of things of that nature of how we practice and stuff.

“I feel like Keegan would understand sort of when we need to get up, when we need to practice, and when you need to do this and hopefully dodge anything you don’t have to do and maybe that will help us.”

Before Schauffele can start thinking about next year’s Ryder Cup or even the Paris Olympics later this month, he must get through the Scottish Open and The Open next week. What’s his focus?

“Overall acclimation,” the defending Olympic champ said. “Hitting the putts a little bit harder. When you’re playing chips, trying to position yourself on holes, even though you’re short-sided, as long as you’re into the wind, you have to start thinking that way again.

“And then the lag putting is really hard. You’ll be on the front of the pin and the pin will be on the front, and you have 50 feet, you pace it off, and you’re, like, dang. Whereas back home, pin to front of the green you have 15 feet or 18 feet. Getting used to those small things.”