Nearly man Schauffele yearns to finally capture a major



AUGUSTA:

Xander Schauffele, the world’s highest-ranked player without a major title, is bothered he hasn’t captured one of golf’s most coveted prizes — to the point where just one won’t be enough.

The reigning Olympic champion has 11 top-10 finishes in 26 major starts, including a share of second at the 2019 Masters and 2018 Open Championship, but no victories.

World number five Schauffele admitted Monday the major void in his trophy case bothers him enough where he questions if any week without a win is a bad week.

“That’s a good question, definitely something I think about that rings around in my head a bit,” Schauffele said.

“A steady drip caves a stone is something I grew up with, people tell me good playing, and they’re not wrong. It’s some solid golf I’ve been playing. Obviously you just want it to be that much better.

“But at the end of the day, that’s also the reason why I keep having these performances where I’m close, just because it’s bothering me and it’s something that I really want.

“And if I clip one, it’s not going to be enough for me to be satisfied. So, I think it’s definitely what motivates me as a golfer and as a competitor, just to keep pushing.”

The 30-year-old American has plenty of motivation for a Masters green jacket, saying he imagines how good it would feel to win one.

“I try to force the dream upon myself all the time,” Schauffele said. “They talk about how right before you fall asleep whatever you’re thinking of you’re going to dream about it.”

“So as many dreams as I can have wearing a green jacket or someone putting it on me on the 18th green, that’s what I try and envision.”

In the waking world, Schauffele has tweaked his season to better prepare for the Masters.

So far this year, Schauffele has six top-10 finishes in eight PGA Tour events, but no victories, his closest call a share of second at The Players Championship.

“I work extra hard in the beginning part of the year to try to get ready for this tournament and I’m at home trying to hit shots that I normally wouldn’t practice off severe slopes and things of that nature,” Schauffele said of the Masters.

“Maybe it’s just extra preparation, I’m not really sure, but you really have to be creative around the property and I think I enjoy that challenge a lot.”

Schauffele’s father adds some extra motivation simply by waiting to play one special round at Augusta National.

“My dad still hasn’t played this property,” Schauffele said. “He told me a long time ago I’m only going to play when you’re a member. So that’s definitely a goal of mine.”

Schauffele respects the Augusta National course, one he knows can offer scoring chances and produce major trouble for one shot going out of position.

“You just honor whatever position you’re in,” Schauffele said.

“You have to be in certain spots on certain holes and if you’re not there, you have to just grind.”



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