Why is Xander Schauffele mentioned in LIV Golf rumors? He has theory

Xander Schauffele

Xander Schauffele hits a tee shot on Wednesday during the Farmers Insurance Open.

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Xander Schauffele admits it’s funny, though in the frustrating kind of way. He also gets that he’s partially to blame, but he won’t change his methodology anytime soon.

Yes, he’s playing this week on the PGA Tour, at the Farmers Insurance Open. And even next week, at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. And even the following week, at the Phoenix Open. And even the following week, at the Genesis Invitational. 

But no, he won’t pledge to the Tour.

And yeah, Schauffele knows what typically follows. 

“People are just like, my god, he’s leaving,” he said. 

Schauffele was talking on this week’s Fore Play podcast — which you can listen to in full here — and the subject with host Dan Rapaport was why Schauffele’s name keeps popping up in LIV Golf rumors. Of course, these days, he’s not completely a one-off. Since the start of LIV two years ago, and the promise of guaranteed millions, there’s been a steady diet of the is-he-going-or-is-he-staying game. 

But Schauffele’s case is notable. 

He’s previously admitted he’s met with LIV — and he turned them down. He’s been critical of Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, after the Tour started negotiations on a funding deal with LIV’s backer, the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund. He’s playing the PGA Tour, as the world No. 5 has since 2017. 

Then there’s mostly a hard stop. 

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Which could also be an approach adopted by others, especially as the Tour continues its negotiations with the PIF. Players could be inclined to keep their options open, given the uncertainty, with the thought being: Why not go to LIV, when the Tour is talking with its money source? Though LIV could also fold. Or it could meld with the Tour. All could be potential options. 

So in the absence of certainty comes the speculation, and on the podcast, Schauffele opened up on it some. He was initially asked by Rapaport why his name seemingly pops up often in LIV conversation. 

“It’s funny,” Schauffele said. “I mean, I’ve just tried — when asked about it, I feel like I’ve just tried to be as honest as possible. And I just dodge the question. Because I don’t really — I’m not going to pledge to the Tour. And I’m the only guy — there’s maybe a handful of guys who’ve done this — but I’m not like, ‘I’m going to play here forever.’ And I’m not saying, ‘I’m going to go there forever.’ I just say, I’m here right now. 

“Which is just a fact and then I get wrecked on the matter.”

For clarity, Schauffele and Rapaport then had this exchange on the podcast:

Said Rapaport: “There’s no benefit for you guys from a business perspective to do that.” 

Said Schauffele: “I mean, the funniest thing is that everyone that says they’re going to stay — as soon as I hear someone saying, I’m for sure staying and I’m pledging, I’m like, you’re gone. I’m just like, ugh.” 

Said Rapaport: “It doesn’t really mean anything. And like situations change and …”

Said Schauffele: “And you just end up lying.” 

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Said Rapaport: “Right, that’s the thing, if you come out and you’re so strong. Like, I think this is one of the problems with the PGA Tour’s initial response was that if you come out so strong on something, you tie your hands. You have to keep …” 

Said Schauffele: “Try to be a little bit of Switzerland, yeah.” 

So Schauffele presses on. 

And the rumors continue. Consider it part of the state of golf at the moment. 

“I mean in the moment, if you’re not really thinking sharp or someone puts some heat on you, you may say the wrong thing and then it will come back and bite you when your mind changes,” Schauffele said on the podcast. “So, like, again, I just try to be as truthful as possible and that’s like being really safe, just saying, I’m here now, and I’m enjoying playing here now. 

“And people are just like, my god, he’s leaving.” 

Editor’s note: To listen to the entire podcast, please click here.

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.