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Xander Schauffele clarifies his father's 'skewed' Ryder Cup comments

October 18, 2023
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Cliff Hawkins

Xander Schauffele has long professed an affinity for playing in Japan, where he has family and won an Olympic gold medal two years ago. So the PGA Tour star is certainly excited about teeing it up at this week's Zozo Championship. He just wasn't quite as excited about Wednesday's pre-tournament press conference because he knew he would have to field questions about his dad's Ryder Cup comments.

In case you forgot, it was Stefan Schauffele who held court with several members of the media in Rome, revealing to the Times of London that Xander almost lost his spot on Team USA. According to Stefan, Xander wanted the PGA of America to address three proposed changes to the Ryder Cup's player participation and benefit agreement.

“The PGA of America were not willing to even talk to us about [the three amendments],” Stefan Schauffele told the Times. “It was very late in the schedule right before the team came here [to Rome] to practice because they had moved the deadline and they said, ‘If you don’t sign it by then, you’re off the team’, but they never gave us the contact information of their legal counsel."

They eventually got answers to the questions, and Xander remained on the squad, but Stefan wasn't happy, calling how it all went down "shameful." And he added this about potential player compensation.

“This is a long game, maybe in two or three Ryder Cups when the parties have decided to come to the table, instead of leaving the elephant standing around in the middle of the golf course," Stefan told the Times of London. "It’s all about improving this product, instead of being secretive and non-communicative. . . . The PGA of America and Ryder Cup Europe need to be more transparent and disclose how this money from the Ryder Cup is being distributed.”

Of course, this also came about after the report that Xander's friend and teammate, Patrick Cantlay, wasn't wearing the team hat as a protest for the players not being paid to compete in the biennial event. Cantlay denied the report, but additional reporting by the Fire Pit Collective's Michael Bamberger continue to raise the question.

Anyway, that gets us back to Wednesday, when Schauffele clarified what his dad had said about Ryder Cup players getting paid.

"If you look at what he said, I wasn't super fired up that he was speaking to media just because I know how things get twisted," Schauffele said. "I had to look back at what he said specifically, and he specifically said that if the tournament's for-profit, then players should get paid. He also said that if it's charitable—it should be a charitable event most likely and that everything should get donated."

Ryder Cup players aren't paid directly, but they do receive $200,000 to donate to a charity of their choice, plus have all their travel accomodations paid. And according to the PGA of America, 20 percent of Ryder Cup media rights fees also go to PGA Tour players’ deferred compensation plans.

"I don't know, when I look back on what he said, I think the headlines sort of skewed obviously what he was trying to say, but I don't think he ever really spoke directly to what you're referring to in terms of playing getting paid," Schauffele said. "He just said it should be either or, not really as confusing as it is."

And in the two years before the next Ryder Cup, this topic promises to be discussed a lot more.