Golf

Xander Schauffele: Best is yet to come after Players Championship disappointment

Scottie Scheffler won the tournament with a final round of 64.

Xander Schauffele believes the best is yet to come after narrowly missing out on the Players Championship title (Lynne Sladky/AP)
Xander Schauffele Xander Schauffele believes the best is yet to come after narrowly missing out on the Players Championship title (Lynne Sladky/AP) (Lynne Sladky/AP)

Olympic champion Xander Schauffele believes the best is yet to come in his career after narrowly missing out on the Players Championship title.

Schauffele took a one-shot lead into the final round at Sawgrass on Sunday and was still in front of the charging Scottie Scheffler when he recorded his fourth birdie of the day on the 12th.

However, Scheffler – who had started the day five shots behind – drew level with a birdie on the 16th and Schauffele then bogeyed the 14th and 15th to leave himself with too much to do over the closing stretch.

Scottie Scheffler won The Players Championship with a final round of 64 (Marta Lavandier/AP)
Scottie Scheffler Scottie Scheffler won The Players Championship with a final round of 64 (Marta Lavandier/AP) (Marta Lavandier/AP)

“I think I’m always pretty tough on myself, but you kind of put it to rest to a certain extent,” Schauffele told a press conference ahead of the Valspar Championship.

“So I wouldn’t say I was too hard on myself on Sunday night.

“I accepted it, was overall pretty pleased with how I was able to play. I’d not been able to play super well since they moved the Players (from May to March), so just another close call under my belt for now.

“I just stay true to myself. I’m pretty aware of the path that I’ve been on my entire career. It’s been a slower path, I would say.

Xander Schauffele is Olympic champion (Lynne Sladky/AP)
Xander Schauffele Xander Schauffele is Olympic champion (Lynne Sladky/AP) (Lynne Sladky/AP)

“Sounds kind of weird, but just always consider myself sort of a slower learner. Even when I was in college, I wasn’t some world beater shooting 60 and playing in Tour events when I was 16 or 17 or 18 years old even.

“There’s tons of guys who have qualified for US Opens when they were 16. That ate me up when I was a kid and it made me grind and push even harder, sort of have that chip on my shoulder.

“I just sort of look back on that, and I’ve had success, but to me I feel like the best is in front of me, and the only way it’s not going to be in front of me is if I let all these things get to my head and not play my game.”