‘There’s a microscope on him’: Schauffele talks McIlroy’s U.S. Open heartbreak

Xander Schauffele and Rory McIlroy during the first round of the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort.

Xander Schauffele and Rory McIlroy during the first round of the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort.

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Xander Schauffele teed off about an hour before the final two pairings did at the U.S. Open on Sunday, which meant he got back to his rental just in time to watch the finish unfold on TV, just like the rest of the world.

“It was pretty wild,” Schauffele said on Tuesday at the Travelers Championship. “As a fan, I’m sure it was very exciting and for me it was just a crazy finish, for sure.”

Coming off his PGA Championship victory a month earlier, Schauffele tied for 7th at Pinehurst No. 2. Bryson DeChambeau, you might recall, won after he got up and down from a bunker to save par on the 72nd hole. That allowed him to edge Rory McIlroy — who missed two short par putts on two of his last three holes (including one on the 18th) — by a stroke.

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It was a crushing defeat for McIlroy, who’s still looking for his first major title since the 2014 PGA. The 35-year-old pro left without talking to reporters. On Monday, he withdrew from this week’s Travelers — a Signature Event — and said he plans to take “a few weeks away” to process the week.

“As a competitor all of us have had our highs and lows to a certain degree,” Schauffele said Tuesday, when asked about McIlroy. “It’s a tough spot. It for sure is a tough spot. I’m sure him and his team are discussing what happened and sometimes you just need to step away from it all and really try and be as objective as possible, because you’re very much in the moment there and it obviously didn’t go his way and he’s just, you know, he needs some time away to figure out what’s going on.”

McIlroy said he’ll return at the Genesis Scottish Open, where he’s the defending champion, on July 11-14; he’ll also play the following week’s Open Championship at Royal Troon.

Schauffele said dealing with tough losses like the one McIlroy just went through is different for everyone.

“It’s hard to for me to compare my losses to his losses,” he said. “I would say his, he’s under a bit more of a microscope. When things are going really well people are all over him, and unfortunately when things don’t go your way people are all over him. So, there’s a microscope on him on why he didn’t win and things of that nature and he’s going to have to answer those questions at some point and he will, because he always does. So, for me, I wear them pretty hard, but sometimes it’s nice to just get back on the horse and compete. Like I said, everyone handles those situations differently, and it’s those times where you just lean on your team and everyone around you that supports you that whole time to give you that confidence to get back on the horse and keep chugging along.”

Schauffele is paired with Matthieu Pavon for the first two rounds of the Travelers at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn. They tee off at 1:50 p.m. ET on Thursday. You can follow along on ESPN+ with featured group coverage all day or watch on Golf Channel when the broadcast begins at 3 p.m.

Josh Berhow

Golf.com Editor

As GOLF.com’s managing editor, Berhow handles the day-to-day and long-term planning of one of the sport’s most-read news and service websites. He spends most of his days writing, editing, planning and wondering if he’ll ever break 80. Before joining GOLF.com in 2015, he worked at newspapers in Minnesota and Iowa. A graduate of Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minn., he resides in the Twin Cities with his wife and two kids. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.

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