For Charley Hoffman (and for many of us), money games are as much a point of pride as they are an exercise in competitive sports. Sure, it’s one thing to beat another golfer in a match or stroke play, but to take their money? Now THAT’s personal. Even if, like Hoffman, you’ve won four times on the PGA Tour and carved a comfortable niche for yourself in the world of professional golf.
On this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar, Hoffman dives into some of his best money game stories from two decades on the PGA Tour. But perhaps more interesting than the memories of money won and lost is the story of the only player he’s refused to play a money game against altogether.
“I will tell you who’s absolutely been smoking me which is Xander (Schauffele),” Hoffman said. “We were playing a month back or so and he’d shoot 9 or 10 under every time we played.”
As it turns out, Schauffele (a west coast native) grew up squaring off against Hoffman, something the elder of the two golfers says plays heavily into their matches today.
“We don’t play for as much as (with) Phil, but it’s ego between me and Xander, because I used to get him back when he was younger and before he became the world class player he is,” Hoffman said. “He’s gotten me back tenfold now. I mean, the guy is a machine. He shoots, 9, 10 under every time he plays at home. It’s insane how good he is.”
After Xander took a few too many rounds in a row, Hoffman decided — for the first time in his life — it was better to cut his losses than keep digging in the hopes of a win.
“We stepped to the 1st tee one day and I’m like ‘I’m not playing you. I’ll play a team game. I’ll get my partner or whatever, but I’m not playing you,'” Hoffman said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever said that to anyone. I shoot 4 or 5 under and I feel pretty good about myself. “I’m not shooting 9 or 10 under today. It’s just not going to happen.”
Hoffman went on to tell Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz about why he thinks Schauffele has grown into such a force at such a young age.
“I guess he really doesn’t have that personality of the Rickie, the JTs so on and so forth, but his golf game speaks for himself,” Hoffman said. “I think he sort of likes not being the name because it gives him a chip on his shoulder. I know he’ll be a big name some day. If it’s a big event, his name is up there every single time. It’s amazing.”
In his view, Schauffele’s greatest strength is his mental makeup, which comes as a sum of all the other parts of his game.
“His mental side is as strong as anybody on Tour,” he said.” He’s mentally strong, and guess what, a close second is how he putts, chips and does everything else. There’s not a weakness in his game.”
You can watch the rest of Hoffman’s Subpar interview, including his favorite stories from gambling with Phil Mickelson, in the video below.