Xander Schauffele walks back R&A blame for illegal driver ‘leak’
Two days after the final round of The Open, Xander Schauffele has had a little time to reflect on the illegal driver drama that consumed him at Royal Portrush. Now the rising Tour star wants to take back some of the vitriol he threw at The R&A over the leak of his failed test.
Schauffele’s driver was among drivers selected for a conforming test prior to The Open. His driver was found to be slightly non-conforming, a relatively normal occurrence resulting from manufacturing inconsistencies.
But Schauffele felt burned by The R&A when news of his failed test, which is supposed to be confidential, started flying around Royal Portrush’s driving range and press tent.
Angry and embarrassed, especially after a fellow pro jokingly called him a “cheater,” Schauffele lashed out at The R&A, saying, “The R&A, they pissed me off because they attempted to ruin my image by not keeping this matter private,” he said on Saturday after the third round. “This is me coming out and treating them the exact way they treated me.”
Now that Schauffele has cooled off, he spoke to Golf Channel on Tuesday and rolled back his criticism in a pseudo-apology.
“I don’t think The R&A leaked the information,” Schauffele told Golf Channel. “The fact is it was leaked, some way or another, to caddies or other players on the range. During the testing time the door was wide open. I don’t know how it happened. [But] their intentions weren’t to ruin any player.”
Schauffele added that he talked with the pro who called him a cheater, and they cleared the air. Schauffele explained his knee-jerk reaction to the accusations by saying that in the moment he “decided to take a stance for my own integrity.”
Schauffele is in the field this week for the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. He tees off Thursday at TPC Southwind with Gary Woodland and Jon Rahm at 12:53 p.m. ET.
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