(photo by Ralph LoVuolo)
Huge crowd views Xander and Tiger
A huge crowd of golf fans followed the play of what is being termed the “power group” of Tiger Woods, Tony Finau and Xander Schauffele – a former Scripps Ranch High School golfer – during the first day of play at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course on Jan. 24.
Schauffele was 3 under par after the first day.
The unusually large gallery, estimated in the thousands, was obviously interested in seeing the legendary Tiger Woods, but many were also drawn by the skyrocketing Xander Schauffele who is ranked sixth in the world. The fascination with Tiger Woods paired with Schauffele, the new star, has obviously captured the imagination of golf fans who want to witness these popular players on the same green.
So, what was it like playing with Tiger Woods in front of Schauffele’s home town fans and such a big crowd?
“I thought I got more cheers than he did, honestly. I was hearing more things than – I’m just kidding,” Schauffele joked.
Was it a bit intimidating playing with such a legend as Tiger for the first time?
“Yeah, on the first tee, you know. It was like, we’re going to tee it,” Schauffele said. “But he’s a cool dude. We were just chatting and hanging out. There were a few waits, we were just talking about everything but golf. We had a good time.”
Toward the end of the day, the fans became a bit raucous. Was it hard to focus?
“Yeah, you know, it is what it is,” he said. “It’s white noise to all of us I think out here on Tour. It wasn’t that big of a deal. … You know, I’m not bothered by a whole lot. Fortunately, I don’t have mouse ears. When people are running around, I don’t really think much about it.”
Did he watch Tiger or try to learn from him?
“Yeah, you know, I like to look around a little bit. I always check out my competitors and see what they do well,” Schauffele explained. “Obviously, Tiger’s tempo and his iron play is incredibly smooth and consistent. He doesn’t miss too many iron shots, so that’s a beautiful thing to see. Besides that, yeah, he rolls it well, he does everything good. He’s Tiger Woods, so come on.”
(Photos on this page are from Jan. 23 practice)
The Farmers Insurance Open continues through Sunday, Jan. 27.
Photos by Ralph LoVuolo. Visit ralphlovuolophotography.com.