June 5, 2024
When a player like Xander Schauffele finally wins a major championship, the common take is that “the floodgates are about to open.” “He’s finally freed up!” they say. It’s been true for the likes of Phil Mickelson, Scottie Scheffler and even Dustin Johnson.
In reality, though, professional golf doesn’t get easier just because you won one tournament, even when that tournament is one of the four crown jewels on the golf schedule. It’s on to the next event at the next course, which this week happens to be Muirfield Village, a brutally hard Jack Nicklaus design that will punish even the slightest off-line shot, often resulting in tournament-ending double bogeys and “others.”
So while it’s a nice thought to assume Schauffele is going to win at a Scheffler-like clip after his Valhalla triumph, it’s much easier said than done, especially when his upcoming stretch features this week’s Memorial Tournament, the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, and the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands. Fortunately for Schauffele, he’s already been humbled this week at Jack’s place, where he was asked on Tuesday if he feels “freed up” now that he’s a major champion.
“I don’t know, I just played nine holes and probably shot in the 40s,” Schauffele said. “So I don’t feel super free, to be completely honest.”
Better now than on Thursday and Friday, right?
Schauffele is not one to live in the past and he knows that it’s always on to the next in professional sports. What have you done for me lately, nobody cares about last week, things of that nature.
“If I look like big picture, sure, but this is a stressful week,” Schauffele added. “But, yeah, I mean, it’s nice going to events and sitting in here and probably the only time — you know, everyone close to me always told me I was good to go do it [win a major], and I believed that too. So yeah, freed up in the media room with you guys probably.”
In other words, the Wanamaker Trophy is not going to help him finish in the top 10 for the first time in his career at Muirfield Village, a place he’s uncharacteristically struggled at. When informed of that fact, Schauffele got a little defensive, in a good way.
“I think I do have a top 10, don’t I?” he questioned. “I don’t know, man, you got to fact check this one. I think there’s a chance I have a top 10. I feel like one year I scrambled really well.”
Schauffele was then told his best finish was a T-11 in 2021. Something to aim for this week.
“You’re right. I apologize. That’s on me. So now you know how I think. I’m so positive. I would have lost so much money on like a top 8, tied 8th or something.”

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