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Ryder Cup 2021: Xander Schauffele has stronger European ties than most, but is still all in for Team USA

Patrick Smith

HAVEN, Wis. – Patriotic allegiances sometimes get tested at the Ryder Cup, whether it’s spouses, caddies, agents or swing coaches. Crossover interests are far from unusual.

Then there is U.S. rookie Xander Schauffele, who, whether he is playing in the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup, might find a family member with a rooting interest ever so slightly contrary to his own. His father Stefan is German. His mother Ping-Yi is Taiwanese. He was born in San Diego. They have the whole world covered, as it were, in biennial match-play events.

During his pre-Ryder Cup interview Wednesday morning at Whistling Straits, Schauffele fielded a question from a European writer that probably was inevitable, given his family heritage. “How European do you feel? And who's your father supporting this week?”

“You're that guy, huh?” Schauffele responded with little hesitation, drawing laughs.

“It’s funny … I guess I almost stand alone in my family,” he said. “My brother [Nico] was born in Stuttgart, my dad was born in Stuttgart, my mom was born in Taiwan and grew up in Japan. International, as I like to say.”

Very.

“Yeah, I think I'm the only natural-born citizen in my family, so I can say I'm proud to be an American. I was the only one born in the U.S. For that reason, I feel very American. I just feel like I've been exposed to a lot of other cultures, so I understand them very well.”

Schauffele, 27, played for the U.S. in the 2019 Presidents Cup in Melbourne, but he is one of six American first-time Ryder Cup players this week—though he doesn’t feel like a rookie after his experience three years ago in Australia. Additionally, he enjoyed further international satisfaction and experience when he won the Olympic gold medal in Japan in late July and had the chance to share his gold medal with his grandparents, who live in Tokyo.

Of course, he won it representing his home country.

As for which direction his father might be leaning in this week’s 43rd Ryder Cup, Schauffele had little doubt.

“I think my dad is just rooting for me,” he said. “I don't think you'll catch him saying he's rooting for Europe at any point, [but] let me know if he does.”

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