Xander on Gary Woodland: ‘He knows he could kick my a– if he wanted to’

Xander Schauffele began Sunday five shots back of the lead at the Tournament of Champions. Sixty-two shots later, he’d rallied for a huge comeback victory, playing his last seven holes in six under to clip Gary Woodland by one.

Woodland was gracious — and playful — in defeat. The long-hitting 34-year-old sought out Schauffele immediately after his round and gave him a friendly shove. A reporter asked what Woodland told him in the exchange.

“Congrats,” Schauffele said, laughing. “He knows he could kick my a– if he wanted to, so…”

Xander Schauffele Gary Woodland

Xander Schauffele wants to keep his fights with Gary Woodland restricted to the golf course.

Size-wise, Schauffele has a point: the soft-spoken Californian is listed at 5 feet, 10 inches and 175 pounds, while Woodland is a sturdy 6’1, 195. But Schauffele was clearly kidding about any potential showdown; each was effusive with praise for the other after their rounds.

“Gary’s been very kind to me since I’ve been out here on Tour, and he’s just a really cool dude,” Schauffele said.

Woodland watched Schauffele from the group behind as he holed out for eagle twice and racked up eight additional birdies. “Sixty-two is obviously an awesome round of golf, and hats off to Xander,” Woodland said in his post-round interview. “That’s really, really good.”