PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – A night of reflection and a third-round two-under 69 Saturday at Royal Portrush did nothing to assuage Xander Schauffele’s displeasure with the R&A over the matter of his driver being found non-conforming prior to the start of the 148th Open Championship.
If anything, he was even more agitated.
Aggravating his already aggrieved disposition was taking a ribbing from a fellow player to which Schauffele didn’t take too kindly.
“I've been called a cheater by my fellow opponents. It's all joking, but when someone yells ‘cheater’ in front of 200 people, to me it’s not going to go down very well,” said Schauffele, who on Friday aired his grievance with the R&A by calling it “unfair” because the ruling body tests only 30 drivers and not the whole field. “It was a player out here. I'm cool with him. He thought it was funny. … But that's not something you joke about. Then someone else is like, I'm chipping around, someone is like, ‘Oh, wedges are legal now.’
“So The R&A, they pissed me off,” Schauffele added, “because they attempted to ruin my image by not keeping this matter private. This is me coming out and treating them the exact way they treated me.”
There was more that bothered Schauffele—an incident involving his father.
“An official came up to my dad and asked him, ‘How's our testing going after Thursday?’ My dad, his temperament is a little worse than mine, at times. I'm surprised that guy is … [my dad is] a little bigger than I am, too. I've got a little more bite, but he's a bit bigger.
“This whole thing was a bit of a stir for my whole team. And like I said, I can deal with certain things if the variables are controlled. But in this situation, we're sort of thrown in a nice little hodgepodge, if you want to call it.
“We're the traveling circus. There's certain moving parts on tour here, and everyone on the grounds knew for some odd reason. … It was just handled unprofessionally. And it did tick me off, for sure.”