The American Express

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

La Quinta, California, USA

PGA WEST Pete Dye Stadium Course

Xander Schauffele

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Xander Schauffele to the interview room here at The American Express. Welcome back. Making your first start since your rookie season in 2017. So what's it like to be back?

XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, it's nice. I had to re-learn, obviously, the three courses. Some of the holes weren't, I guess, recognizable to me. But once I got in the flow of things some of the holes came back to me.

It's nice to be here. It's in my home state and not far from San Diego. So happy to be back.

THE MODERATOR: Been able to practice a little bit. What are you liking about the courses, seeing them match up for your game this week?

XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, just a lot of the holes are pretty much right in front of you. No tricks. So very much an execution contest. If the weather stays this way it should be a really nice week.

THE MODERATOR: Making your first start back this season since Sentry with a withdrawal. How's your back feeling?

XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, it's a little sore. Trying to be as patient as possible to take things as slow as possible in terms of getting too many reps in and I guess being stupid in that sense. But I'm known to try to practice too much at times. I'm trying to take this one slow so I don't hurt it again or do something of that nature.

I feel good. Obviously I wouldn't be here if I didn't feel solid. Looking forward to the week.

THE MODERATOR: All right, we'll start up here in the front.

Q. So was the last week about doing nothing or was it about rehabbing the back?

XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, it's just a little sore. I did nothing and I had a lot of work done on it. So it's a little sore. I've gotten in probably more swings than I wanted to in these last three days. So just more work to be done on it. I got to be a little bit more patient in my return.

Q. More swings than you wanted or more swings than the people who are working on your back wanted?

XANDER SCHAUFFELE: More swings than I wanted. If you don't tell me -- I'm that golfer who is sort of like, Just one more, and it's like 50. You know what I mean? I'm that guy.

So I think all of us out here who are tour pros are those people and definitely guilty.

Q. It is your first start here since 2017. Was it just that this didn't work for the schedule or was this a change in the schedule because of the new designated events?

XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, it did fit better. I need to get on my horse too. It was a bummer to miss that event over in Hawaii. Didn't get any points there. So that's usually a staple for me to get my year started. So I'm just going to have to do it somewhere else.

Q. Local question. Any early memories coming out to the desert? Golf, no golf?

XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Not really. Never really made it around the mountain, to be honest. Growing up pretty much stayed local to San Diego. So, no, to be completely honest.

Q. You're playing with your buddy Patrick. You guys are good friends, right. I know the media makes a big deal about that. What's that like playing with Patrick in a competitive pro-am event like this?

XANDER SCHAUFFELE: It will be the first, I guess, of its kind. We've competed now on multiple U.S. teams and regular tournaments, regular TOUR stops. So it will be our first pro-am, I guess, competing against each other in a pro-am format.

But it will be good. We went around 18 holes today and figured might as well do it three more times in the next couple days.

Q. I assume you've seen all three golf courses this week.

XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, yes, I have. I've played, I touched I think every hole. I played a lot of golf.

Q. You start at La Quinta, which is kind of a course that people are supposed to go low and lower on. Does that change your mindset at the start as opposed to maybe starting on one of the other courses?

XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I mean, you're just trying to play solid golf. If you can drive the ball well at La Quinta it really opens up the place. Versus trying to scramble from the trees or something of that nature.

So I don't think so. I'm really just, one, a new perspective, just happy to be here and looking forward to getting off to a solid start. But just trying to make sure I handle my initial business before I tee off well so I'm good to go.

Q. Jon Rahm was in this morning and talked about how it kind of changes your perspective by winning Sentry in his case. Get that win out of the way. Is that something that you focus on for the West Coast or?

XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I mean, typically, yeah, I would say West Coast is usually a nice coast for me. I grew up on this side and I've definitely been able to make some points up on this side of the United States.

But, yeah, it does. Us pros, we kind of stock our calendar how we see fit. When you win early and get points up on the board early it's really nice and it really frees you up almost in terms of what you can do the rest of the year in terms of flexibility and taking a tournament off if you're tired or adding one if you want to add more points. So definitely winning early makes things very nice.

Q. Your West Coast schedule is, was Sentry, now here and what else?

XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Next week, Torrey Pines, Waste Management, Riviera. Almost all of 'em.

Q. We have five of the top-7 golfers here this week. This tournament hasn't had that kind of star power. Do you think that's just because guys have gotten better or it's because you guys are trying to get tournaments out of the way to reach that 20 cap?

XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I'm not sure. I was here seven years ago. Not to bag on anyone, but I think American Express does an incredible job, if you look at the builds and everything. Obviously the better the tournament, the better the pros typically show up. That's just kind of how it works.

So I couldn't tell you why there's other top players here. Probably trying to get some points up early and this is a really good spot to do it. It's kind of crappy weather everywhere else in the world and you look outside and the sun's up and we usually like playing in the sun.

THE MODERATOR: We'll keep it short and sweet. Thanks, Xander.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
128540-1-1044 2023-01-18 23:14:00 GMT

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