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May 15, 2019

Xander Schauffele

Farmingdale, New York

JOHN DEVER: Good afternoon, and welcome back to the 2019 PGA Championship here at Bethpage Black. I'm pleased to be joined by Xander Schauffele. Xander, welcome to what is your third PGA Championship of your young career. You've never played Bethpage Black in a competitive round and never played it until this week. How do you overcome that? Is it an obstacle or just something you think you can plow right through?

XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Plow right through is not what comes to mind when thinking of the property. I think playing -- I played 27 holes -- yeah, I played 27 holes now on the property, and it's pretty straightforward. You have to golf your ball, and you definitely can't fake it out here. Everything is right in front of you, and you've just got to go get it.

JOHN DEVER: You've been knocking on the door quite a bit lately. I'm wondering how you're adjusting to the new schedule, the PGA Championship being in May and basically one major per month, April through July. What are your early returns on that for you?

XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Pack some warmer clothes, for starters. I think everyone is sort of adjusting to the new schedule. I think we're pretty excited about it. It's nice to have sort of one major a month, and you know, it sort of rewards a good stretch of golf if you have it in you. Hopefully we can sort of trickle off of what we did a month back.

Q. What's the takeaway from Augusta? Are the expectations of majors now high enough where you're going to be really disappointed by the finish at Augusta? How did you kind of walk away from that?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: With a positive attitude. I said there, I feel like Augusta is always on the same -- the Masters is always on the same property, so playing well there is never a bad thing, and it proved that we can win there, which is a comforting feeling when you fall asleep at night. But moving forward to other majors, this is a completely different animal out here. Bethpage, the Black course, and it'll wear you out.

I haven't looked at past scores and I don't really know what to expect of scores coming out on Thursday. I'm glad that the weather is warming up a little bit or the back nine will be a little rough, but I think overall, I sort of have the same happy-go-lucky attitude. I'm not really at a point where I'm walking out here with a huge head thinking I'm the big guy. I still feel like I've got to do all my homework and kind of keep my head down.

Q. Just as a follow-up, game-wise, how does this set up for you? What does it do with your eye?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I'd say I've played well on courses like this. You know, it's very much so a total driving sort of stat course, I think, accuracy plus distance. I feel like that's something I've done well in the past, so if I sort of not get in my own way and do my thing, I think we should have a pretty solid week.

Q. Does this course remind you of anything that you've played? And if so, where is it?

Q. If not, make something up.
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, I don't know. It reminds me a bit of Torrey every once in a while. Obviously there's no water out here, but just the nastiness of the rough, and you get to your ball after you -- the thing about Torrey and here, you can hit two yards off the fairway and have 215 yards to the pin and start laughing because you have a sand wedge in your hand. That's sort of a similarity that I've drawn from the two properties.

Q. Can you attribute -- you've had a number of really strong finishes at majors, whether it was Augusta or Carnoustie, what have you. Can you attribute that to anything?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Patience, I guess. I don't know. I feel major weeks, I seem to maybe focus more. I couldn't tell you. You know, I just feel freed up in a sense. I feel a little more freed up than other tournaments because everyone -- like I say about every major, there's so much going on.

Even sitting here right now, I feel like I want to practice a little bit more, just to prepare for this monster of a course. But at the end of the day, you just sort of have to relax and do what you always do, and that's play good golf.

Q. With your record in the majors and where you are in the FedExCup right now, does it bother you to be under the radar? Would you rather keep a low profile in situations like this?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I don't care. If I could choose, I'd love to stay under. I've heard veterans tell me to stay under the radar as long as possible, as long as you can. I've had a few more kids yelling my name this week, which is nice, but it does take time away from -- I don't have the heart to tell a kid no yet, so it does take a little bit of time away. But I can't even relate to some of the guys who are not under the radar in terms of how they have to organize their time and please everyone.

JOHN DEVER: It appears that the weather is warming up for the weekend, but maybe reflect on your career; where have you played really well when it's been colder like this? Have you won any championships along the way in your junior days when it was cold?

XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I didn't win anything when I was a junior or an amateur really. I don't have -- you lose a lot in golf. I wasn't really one to have a stellar career, I'd say. I mean, I've only won four times out here. I don't have a whole lot to draw back on in cold weather play, but the sun was out today, so we're going to go with that.

Q. Did you hear anything funny out there from fans, or are you getting any -- do you get more X-man stuff now? What are you getting?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: More than not, yeah, I'd assume. If you're a top 10 player in the world, someone should know who you are at that point. But I really don't care. Either way, I'm just trying to take care of what I'm trying to do and move on.

Q. And is it more kids who are recognizing you and calling your name than adults?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: You have the odd 40-year-old guy who wants a high five or something like that. I'd much rather give a kid a high five. But it's cool. I'll take whatever I can get.

Q. I would assume you're a little better player now than in your rookie season a couple years ago. I'm just curious what areas you think you've improved the most since '17 or -- '16, '17 --
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I won twice my rookie year, man.

Q. It was a good year.
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I haven't done it since I don't think.

Q. Won twice.

Q. You've done it this year.
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Twice already? Well, I guess -- sorry. China was so long ago, it was a different year, right?

Q. It was on the other side of the world, but that's not the point. The point is when you started as a rookie, what are you doing better now do you think than when you first came out, if anything?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Panic. I panic less. I don't feel as overwhelmed I'd say. I think I know what I'm doing, and we'll go with that. I don't really listen to a whole lot of noise, and I kind of keep my head down more.

As a rookie you sort of don't really know if you're good enough, and then you start listening to a bunch of random things or just out looking for a bunch of random things that are available for you out on the big Tour. So I feel like I sort of stay in my lane more so now than ever and don't really panic about what I can do out here.

Q. Who have you been confused for? Who do fans sometimes think you are when they don't know who you are?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: None really. They've sort of -- they'll pronounce my name wrong, but besides that, they kind of know who I am, I guess. I haven't really been called anyone else but Xander.

Q. What are some of the things that you're working on with your dad in your golf swing right now?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Just basic stuff. That's something I've learned, as well, to try not to tinker too much. We just got off the range, I came straight here from the range, and it's just basic stuff, trying to make sure -- I tend to hang very much on the draw side of the ball, and on the range just for the last 25 minutes we tried to hit some more fades just to balance out what's going on.

Golf is a funny game, and I don't know what everyone else works on, but we work on pretty simple things.

JOHN DEVER: To make up for your new necessary out here in the months leading up, did you talk to any fellow players on Tour, What do you think about Bethpage Black?

XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Charley, he lives in San Diego, so I saw Charley before I came out here, so I asked him about it, and he said, it's just a beast. It's a beast of a property. He said a few other things, but overall just said it's a monster course, and you can't fake it around the property. You have to golf your ball.

Q. When you go out to play the golf course tomorrow, do you have a certain strategy for certain holes? Is your strategy just to stay out of the rough? Are you going to hit it as far as you can and go find it? Different players have different skill sets, and it causes them to create a plan for how they can play.
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I start on the back nine -- Kisner said it best. I played a practice round with him yesterday, and he said he shot the easiest 40s on the back nine here than anyone else, and I can see why, 10, 12, 13, 15. I mean, I can keep naming every hole on the back nine pretty much. Par is a great score, and if I can hit it in the fairway and hit some greens early, gain a little bit of confidence early in this tournament, I think that would comfort me a little bit. If you're sort of sitting around missing fairways wedging out or advancing it to having long bunker shots, that's sort of what this course will give you if you're not hitting fairways off the tee. If I can sort of ease the ship early, hopefully I can sort of ease into the round.

Q. Another question about the noise, but firstly, assuming you're in the fairway, can you give me an idea of what kind of clubs you were hitting on say 15? On 7? Things like that?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: 15, 7 -- well, 7, I decided to play the tee up today. Didn't feel like hitting -- I hit 3-wood in the other day when it was cold. I think that was Monday. Hit driver, 3-wood. I got there, which was nice, but today I hit driver, 5-iron out of the rough. And then 15 is driver, 5-iron, as well. I mean, you're not sitting in the middle of the fairway licking your chops. You're sort of just trying to hit the center of the green and take your two-putt.

Q. I wanted to go back to the -- not so much the panic but the noise. I was a little bit lost there. What kind of noise do you have to block out, going back to when you first came out here?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I mean, everything. There's so much -- there's cameras, there's people trying to talk to you, there's people trying to sell you on stuff. Everyone wants to help, which is nice, but at the end of the day, you got out here for a reason, and as simple as it may seem, it worked. And I've proven that whatever I have has sort of advanced me in whichever direction, so we're going to stick with that.

Q. Did you catch yourself listening to any of this early on?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: You know, you try. When you're not confident in what you're doing, of course. We're out here trying to get better, and when you feel like something sounds -- everything sounds great until you try it, and then it doesn't really work, and now you're fishing. It's a wicked circle of events, but everyone has gone through it.

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