“Everyone Seems Excited”, Xander Schauffele Talks PGA's Plan for Return

The Scripps Ranch Grad and 12th ranked golfer in the world will play in the PGA Tour's first event back, the Charles Schwab Challenge on June 11th.

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As major pro sports leagues iron out plans for a return, the PGA Tour is a little over two weeks away from getting back into the swing of weekly events. The tour has been on hold since March 12th, when The Players Championship was canceled after one round.

While the PGA awaits its comeback, there was a notable live golf event on television in the last week. Like millions of others on Sunday, Schauffele did catch ‘The Match’, a star-studded event that featured Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

“A nice combination of smack talking and fun, and they were all out there for a really good cause,” Schauffele said. “All the news and feedback from what I’ve read seems like everyone had a good time.”

He got to experience a bit of that on Memorial Day, albeit without the TV audience. The Scripps Ranch grad teamed up with Poway native Charley Hoffman, and fellow pros Jon Rahm and Emiliano Grillo to raise money for the staff at the Grand Golf Club at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar

“It was sort of the least we could do just to shine a brighter light on the club since it's been sort of a tough time for everyone,” Schauffele said. “It was a nice thing.”

And probably not too different from what they'll experience when PGA Tour events return June 11th without fans.

“I think it's gonna sort of feel like we're playing a little gambling game with the buddies, it just happens to be for a lot more.”

Empty galleries will be one of many differences. The tour released a health and safety plan that includes regular testing and health screening; limited support personnel at the course; chartered flights between events as well as host hotels; and new guidelines for players and caddies once they're on the course.

“I'm sure just like anything else there's gonna be a mixed bag of opinions and feelings towards what the tour can do. I feel like they’ve taken all the necessary precautions to make sure we're safe.”

With those measures in place, the former Aztec says players have to do their part.

“At the end of the day it's up to us to listen to what they say and follow the rules. None of this is gonna work if all the players don't do their part. I say that falls on us.”

He doesn't expect the changes to be a problem, especially since golfers will get most of them out of the way once before they get to the first tee.

“I'm sure at some point it'll feel nice just to get on the golf course and do what we do.”

The 12th ranked golfer in the world will have a chance to make a run at a Tour Championship, and take aim at his first major victory just as he did in 2019, even if that means playing for a green jacket in November instead of April.

“That might feel funny, but there's still majors and I think everyone's still excited and happy that we're able to play in them considering what's happened.”

Excited to play rounds that count after nearly three months away. Having spent plenty of time on the course this month, he doesn't expect much rust on his game.

“Maybe just a little bit of tournament nerves to deal with early on, but for the most part I feel like I'm good to go.”

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