How does Xander Schauffele feel now, after meeting with LIV Golf? Well …
Xander Schauffele wonders if he’s been “shafted.” He’s questioning the meaning of loyalty.
Schauffele also says he sees the bottom line, too.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, Schauffele’s views on the proposed deal among the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and the Saudi Public Investment Fund were mixed. They were complicated. They were understandable. In an interview last year with GOLF’s Dylan Dethier, the world’s No. 6-ranked golfer said he had met with LIV Golf, who is also Saudi-backed. Could he have received the large, guaranteed money that so many others took? Perhaps. But he stayed with the PGA Tour. He heard propaganda that the established brand was the wise — and morally correct — choice.
And now? The Tour and the Saudis are teammates. They will operate a new, for-profit enterprise and end pending litigation among the sides. There will be some sort of path back for LIV players, too. The war is over, at least as it had been over the past year.
And in the interview with the Sunday Times — which you can read in full here — Schauffele had some thoughts.
“What does loyalty mean these days? I don’t quite know,” Schauffele told the Times. “From a long-term perspective, more money being dumped into the game again is a good thing. The product was always going to be better with the [LIV] golfers we know, the major winners, all included.
“But trying to put my own emotions and sentiments on the matter aside is going to be hard.”
He was not alone. In a press conference on Wednesday, a day after the deal was announced, Rory McIlroy said much the same. He had been the de facto face of the Tour. He had helped revamp the Tour’s schedule for this year. He had listened to commissioner Jay Monahan say at one point: “Had you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?” — a reference to Saudi Arabia’s poor human-rights record and links to 9/11.
“I said it to Jay yesterday: You’ve galvanized everyone against something and that thing that you galvanized everyone against you’ve now partnered with,” McIlroy said. “So, yeah, of course I understand it. It is hypocritical. It sounds hypocritical.”
In the interview with the Sunday Times, Schauffele had additional thoughts.
“Yeah, I guess [betrayal] would be the charged word,” Schauffele says. “Irony comes to mind as well. From the messages I’ve had, everybody is taking it a bit personally, which is fair, to an extent. I was definitely left in the dark, like most guys, which is frustrating from the transparency side. I thought we were making some headway in that department, but obviously not, because there wasn’t a whole lot of trust in the first place.
“As tour pros, we try to rationalize situations when we compete, but some guys are feeling hot-headed, some are more confused, some are emotional. We have a really interesting group [of players] that are trying to deal with this situation.”
Which will, no doubt, make this week’s U.S. Open … something? Nothing? Maybe it will be some of both, when PGA Tour and LIV Golf pros break bread together at Los Angeles Country Club.
But to end this story, we’ll share that the end of the Sunday Times story asked Schauffele about Patrick Cantlay. And slow play.
And that Schauffele offered a wonderful dry-humor quote.
Here’s that story link again.