Xander Schauffele knows what winning a major championship would mean for his legacy. With the Masters this week, there’s no better time than now to capture his first one.
While he’s still just 29 years old, the current No. 7-ranked player in the world has yet to bust through the wall of upper echelon players. And to make that leap, it requires having a major championship on your resume — Schauffele is fully aware of this.
“From a personal and selfish standpoint, I need to get myself back into those zones of being in the hunt down the stretch,” he said.
Schauffele knows what it takes to win on the PGA Tour — he’s done it seven times in his career. But winning a major is a different animal, as it requires precision with every shot, a loose (yet confident) mental game, and, in his own words, “a very hot week… which is getting harder and harder to have.”
But this week’s Masters appears to set up nicely for Schauffele to capture that elusive first major, and finally get the monkey off his back.
In his five appearances at Augusta, he has a T2 (2019) and T3 (2021). And despite missing the cut in last year’s tournament, his course history suggests that he has the goods to compete again this year.
But what is it going to take for Schauffele to win the Masters this week? I had a chance to talk with him recently to ask him directly.
In the video above, he told me that players must “have a very developed game to go into a major and win it,” which is something he and his team continue to strive for.
“I feel like my game is always trending in the right direction, and I’m staying patient,” he said. “I really just need to keep putting myself in that position [to win].”
Coming off a disappointing finish in last year’s Masters when he missed the cut, Schauffele showed his competitive mentality during our chat, saying the performance wasn’t only a “bummer” for him, but that it isn’t fun for him when he’s not in the hunt.
“Last year was a bit of a bummer for me, since I wasn’t really able to put myself in any position to win. It’s just not fun, and it’s not really why I play. Like, I understand it’s dramatic, but I love being in the hunt, and I love being in position to win.
“That’s why I love playing the game; for those reasons.”
As for Schauffele’s approach for this week’s Masters, he reiterated a common phrase for pro athletes hunting a major title or first-ever championship ring: patience.
“I just need to stay really patient,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to take anything fancy or really special, it’s just trucking along, keep showing up to the door and kicking it until it’s down; that’s just really where I’m going.”
Schauffele has chipped away at Augusta for the past five years. As he enters his sixth Masters, he hopes he’s got a sledgehammer in his bag to finally knock down the wall in front of him, earning the distinction of a major champion.
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