Report: Schauffele, Cantlay’s Ryder Cup gripe drew PGA of America threat

Xander schauffele at the 2023 Ryder Cup

Xander Schauffele at the Ryder Cup last week.

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On Saturday of Ryder Cup week, the always-charged event received another jolt when a Sky Sports report alleged Patrick Cantlay was the center of “a fractured” U.S. team room, specifically that Cantlay’s decision to not wear a team hat was in protest of players not getting paid. The report also alleged Cantlay and close friend and longtime Ryder Cup parter Xander Schauffele had their own space in the locker room away from others.

Cantlay called the story false, and the U.S. team largely made jokes about the thought of a rift in their room. Now, we’re learning more about this story.

According to Xander Schauffele’s father, Stefan — who spoke with The Times, based in London — Xander and Cantlay were in a contract disagreement before the Ryder Cup and asked that a player participation and benefit agreement to be amended in three places.

Stefan told The Times it might have been this disagreement that led to the report of a fractured team room.

Stefan told The Times that the player participation and benefit agreement was sent to players in July. One part of the contract Xander and Cantlay wanted amended was the team-room access granted to Netflix for its “Full Swing” series, for which players are not compensated. Stefan said that U.S. captain Zach Johnson put that to a vote, and the team unanimously decided to decline Netflix access due to the “sanctity and sacredness of Team USA.”

“The PGA of America were not willing to even talk to us about [the three amendments],” Stefan told The Times. “It was very late in the schedule right before the team came here [to Rome] to practice because they had moved the deadline and they said, ‘If you don’t sign it by then, you’re off the team,’ but they never gave us the contact information of their legal counsel. [On Sept. 2], finally, the head of the PGA of America got wind of this, because it was not him that was blocking it, and put our lawyers in contact with the PGA of America’s general counsel, and then it took a few hours to hash it out and it was fine. Then I received a message that Xander was back on the team. That you can quote. That’s the extent of this, and I think it’s shameful.”

The PGA of America, which runs the Ryder Cup, declined The Times’ request for comment. A spokesperson from the association told GOLF.com, “As always, we are not going to comment on private conversations with our Ryder Cup Team Members.“

The Sky Sports report about Cantlay added drama to the Ryder Cup, which up until then was largely a European rout. Fans mocked Cantlay by taking off their hats and chanting, and some U.S. players and caddies later mocked the fans’ move by taking off their hats and playfully waving them at Cantlay as well. (Cantlay said he doesn’t wear a team hat simply because it doesn’t fit; he didn’t wear one at Whistling Straits in 2021, either.)

On Saturday, when asked if he believe players should be paid for competing in the Ryder Cup, Cantlay said, “It’s not about that. It’s just about Team USA and representing our country.” Pressed for more of an answer, he said, “That’s all I’ve got to say about that.”

The U.S. team rallied around Patrick Cantlay Saturday.
Inside Ryder Cup Day 6: Hatgate, Patrick Cantlay’s rally, an 18th-green incident
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Speaking to the media after he won his singles match 2 and 1 over Justin Rose on Sunday, Cantlay said the whole thing was “false media stories by one person. I took it and ran with it. It’s totally false. It couldn’t be further from the truth. There hasn’t been one word this week. The U.S. has been close all week. It’s all lies.”

Stefan Schauffele also claimed to The Times that the PGA of America is unfairly profiting from players’ “intellectual property.” (U.S. players are not paid, but they each receive $200,000 to donate to a charity of their choice.)

“Right now, the American players are asked to donate their time pro-bono in the name of patriotism so these organizations can benefit from the profits,” Stefan said. “The PGA [of America] uses this money, and the PGA Tour gets 20 percent that goes into the retirement of every member. The 12 players supposedly need to eat it and their intellectual property gets abused for the benefit of 200 other people. That’s not right.”

The U.S. lost the Ryder Cup 16.5-11.5, extending its losing streak in Europe to seven consecutive matches.

You can read the full report from The Times here.

Josh Berhow

Golf.com Editor

Josh Berhow is the managing editor at GOLF.com. The Minnesota native graduated with a journalism degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.