Xander is back at Torrey Pines
Xander Schauffele, who formerly played on the Scripps Ranch High School golf team, is in San Diego this week competing in the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open PGA golf tournament at Torrey Pines Golf Course.
Here is part of the pre-tournament interview with Schauffele, led by Michael Baliker, Senior Manager, Communications for the PGA.
MICHAEL BALIKER: … Just talk a little bit about getting the opportunity to play here at a place you’ve had a lot of experience.
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, I’ve played a lot here. Haven’t played exceptionally great, I’d say. I’ve had a high finish here, played well at the U.S. Open, but for the most part still kind of figuring it out.
The course is in great condition. The weather was really bad leading into this week, which I kind of had a feeling it was going to be a nice week for weather, and the rough is up thick. Never had so much anxiety trying to hit a fairway. It’s playing really tough, which is sort of I think what everyone wants when you play a tournament.
Q. Xander, how is the back now? Is it completely good or where are you at?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, I’d say I’m always going to feel like I’m 100 percent. It’s probably a little tired. Didn’t do a whole lot of golf since Maui. Even leading up I had the little hiccup at Bahamas is kind of where the whole back thing started. …
Q. So what is the injury itself?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, just muscular. It was just a tight spot there. My team was really quick to diagnose it, assess the scans and MRIs, get the right eyes on it. It’s way out of my league of expertise. It’s kind of weird when people tell you you’re good to go and you kind of just have to say all right, I’m good to go. That happened pretty quickly, which I was really happy about. …
Q. How’s it fit your eye, this golf course, in the past?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I naturally draw the ball for the most matter. I’m really happy when I can fade it. I just enjoy playing it, I enjoy the challenge. It’s so hard. Like I said, you get pretty anxious on some of those tees. You hit it in the rough on like seven holes in a row and you’re two over par, you’re like I’m doing all right. Then you hit it on every fairway, you hit it on every green and you miss every putt, that can also happen. It’s just one of those weeks you’ve just got to wear it out mentally and be better than everyone else mentally.
Q. Do you surf?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I wish. I got really good at golf kind of later in my career here and I think it’s because I wasn’t surfing earlier in my career, because I was just golfing all the time. It’s a tricky one. I think maybe when I stop playing so much golf I’ll try and pick up surfing because it just seems like something I’d enjoy doing.
Q. … So, I had a chance to interview Hansen Surfboards, who makes the trophy surfboard for the Farmers Insurance Open. You would be the first true San Diegan if you won to get the surfboard and potentially just put it in your car and take it home as opposed to having it shipped somewhere.
What would winning a trophy surfboard, being from San Diego with a local company on it and a local surf shaper making this custom board for you, what would that mean?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: … It would just be a cherry on top. Being from here and getting like a homemade prize and being able to put it in my own car and drive away with it 20 minutes from my house would be amazing. I’m not going to let my brain travel too far to that point, but it would be obviously just a cherry on top.
Q. Obviously you are busy with golf, but if you won, would you potentially ever pick up this board, because it’s actually functional and you can actually surf with it?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, like I said, these guys are so good now. I’m 29 and there’s so many young kids out here winning majors and doing crazy things on Tour that I feel like I need to up my practice and up my game. So, I feel like if I started surfing, I would start playing worse golf immediately. Maybe not, but I feel like that would probably happen just with all the young guys coming out and just running and gunning. So, I’ll stick to golf and just one sport for now. …
Q. Just talk about how special it is getting to play in your hometown course, playingin front of your friends and family, just really describe all that that means to you.
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, being on Tour, it felt … home games are tricky, trickier because you are in front of fans. As I get older, as I come here more often, I start to feel more comfortable. Sleeping in your own bed is amazing, it’s kind of a thing us pros cherish a lot. If you’ve been on the road you get deja vu looking at the same hotels and areas and fast food joints and things of that nature. So, just being in a familiar place, seeing familiar faces just really hits home and I think that’s why everyone always enjoys being at home.
Q. Do you have any favorite memories that stick out to you from this course?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I just remember coming out, leaving high school early to come out and play matches at 3 p.m., rushing to finish nine holes. It was from the white tees, the rough was down, greens were usually punched, so wasn’t the same experience or monster that it is right now.
Just feeling really lucky, just like a true San Diego kid just leaving school early to go play golf. If it’s not surfing, you’re golfing or doing something outdoors. That’s kind of awesome.
Q. What impact did maybe the golf community in San Diego kind of impact your career? Like how did that impact your life and career just growing up out here with the caliber of talent out here?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, just a lot of big names to follow. There’s been a few guys still playing out from San Diego. A few guys on the Champions Tour from California, not San Diego specifically anymore. It’s just a lot of big players out there, big shoes to fill and just trying to be as good as them or beat their records and just try and do more for the community or do as much as they’ve done. They’ve done a lot to help all the youth golfers here. It’s just a sunny state where everyone’s pretty happy for the most part.
Q. Are there any challenges or anything specifically you’re looking out for this week?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: The rough, yeah. Pretty much, pretty much every tee shot’s pretty intense. So, you kind of know what you’re dealing with if you miss the fairway and that’s kind of it for everyone that’s playing.
Q. Xander, does being back home put you more at ease to do well here or are there some distractions you might describe being back home that maybe make things more challenging?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I think as I’ve gotten older it’s gotten better. Maybe a little more distracting at first, more nerves. I always want to play well in front of everybody. I just don’t care as much as when I was younger, I think. I’ve kind of become more selfish and kind of worry about what I do. Not that I don’t care about the people. I’m not worried about what other people are thinking as much as when I was a younger kid. I think I’m a little more at ease and not so results oriented as when I first got my sponsor exemption out here my first couple starts. That’s probably helped me play a little bit better out here.
Q. When you got back into town, was there anything you wanted in particular to make sure you would go do?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Well, more recently, just get a good night of sleep, which has been a task, I can tell you. Haven’t hit up any of the local food spots. I recently just try and get in my new house here. It’s been a long time coming, so I’m really looking forward to that.
Q. Why is it a task to get a good night’s sleep?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Oh, just, you know, when you’re moving, people always joke about when you’re doing homes or remodeling a house or doing things like that, it takes your mind off of golf, but it puts your focus somewhere else and it’s usually a golfer’s nightmare and I’m dealing with that and trying to perform at a high level, too.