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November 10, 2020

Xander Schauffele

Augusta, Georgia

Q. Can you tell us your first impressions of the changes from April to November?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, I think it's the same as everyone else. It seems to be softer, a little bit more Bermuda, I'd say, is probably the biggest change. This is only my third Masters and everyone has played a lot more, so for me, the switch shouldn't be too difficult because I don't have a whole lot of experience, so I'll try and use that to my advantage.

Q. I think people tend to forget sometimes that you were tied for the lead on Sunday last year and then you were‑‑ you finished second. I think it has to do with you keeping a low profile sometimes, under the radar. Is that a comfortable place to be for you, and would you rather be‑‑
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, I mean, I think I was too aware that I was tied for the lead looking up at the board the 14th hole, so getting up on the 15th tee was a bit of a hiccup. Had a very kiddish moment realizing I was tied for the lead on a Sunday. Had all the good feels and hit a terrible shot and made a pretty scrambly par on 18 going bunker to bunker and then making a 15‑footer. The inexperience was there, but at the end of the day I wasn't upset with it, with the tie for second, knowing that I kind of made a crazy up‑and‑down just to finish tied for second.

Q. How would that be different this year if you're in the same spot? How will you make yourself not pay attention?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, you're always going to pay attention. It's just sort of knowing that I've done it before. I know what the bad side looks like. The nerves and even without fans will still be there, it's still a major championship, it's still Augusta National, still the Masters. It's just nice to know that I've been in that situation prior to hopefully being in it on Sunday and hoping that I can do better with the experience and what I did compared to the last time.

Q. What have you noticed with no patrons? Is it down around Amen Corner or 16 where there's a lot of clusters of people?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: You know, in terms of competing, it's kind of quiet. It's lonely. Even our practice rounds are really special out here at Augusta. Dustin and I were talking about it today while we were playing. We played the back nine, and the back nine has always got a ton of people, and giving the balls on 16 and the whole experience. I do feel bad for guys who are competing for the first time. They're not really getting the full experience I'd say.
But from a playing standpoint, I think a few areas are actually a little bit easier almost. For example, No.2, everyone likes to stand way right of the green. Unless you're really feeling dangerous and try to hit a ball in the middle of the crowd, which all of us won't do, unless it's a severely errant shot, but there's space now if you blow it out way right it's actually not a bad spot to miss. On holes like 13, with the people sitting up there on the right, it really makes that lay‑up area much smaller, but this year it's kind of wide open.
And then even 18, the framing of 18 makes it nice. When you get up there, you hit your iron shot, you kind of see the left edge of the green, kind of where the back of the green is. Today I played 18 for the first time without anyone there, and it was sort of kind of blank. All you see is the pin just floating in the middle of the hill.
Certain holes play easier, certain holes play harder, but the fans are definitely missed.

Q. You had such a good year; do you put any sort of pressure on yourself to cap off a good year with a good finish at a unique Masters in November?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, golf is funny in terms of calendar year. This is technically a new season, so I've made new goals for the new season, but to me, yes, I did gear up for this tournament, and I do plan on shutting it down after.
Yeah, it makes your off‑season much sweeter when you can cap it off in a nice way.

Q. Was there a match out there today, you and Phil against DJ and Rory?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, San Diego boys versus Rory and Dustin.

Q. And?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: We lost. The crazy thing is I'd say Rory's driving ability. Everyone is very aware of it. I haven't played with him. I haven't played with the likes of Bryson since he's been all beefed up. Rory looks like the same guy, but he seems to have six, seven miles an hour more in the tank than when I last played with him.
On 13 I had my machine out there with me and he asked me to put it down, and he just has a standard 45‑inch driver, and he was clocking around 188 ball speed. The trees weren't even there. They were there for me, so I was sitting up there joking, I'll just play my game. I don't have the 340 in the air covered.
Dustin has got the big ball there, and Phil was classic bomb. It was a very entertaining Tuesday to say the least.

Q. Everybody has been talking about the bombers, the big hitters. Do you think it's really going to make a difference?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: So my big thing with hitting it far is ‑‑ I asked Rory, too, since I haven't really done‑‑ that's sort of off‑season stuff. I don't really have the guts to try and increase a whole lot of speed mid‑season. I like to play with what I've got. That's sort of how I was brought up. But guys who can ramp it up, I asked Rory how it affected his bag, and so he mentioned that even 7‑irons and 6‑irons, you don't realize when you're trying to swing a driver 130 miles an hour you're going to hit a 6‑iron 10, 12 yards further. In terms of scoring it makes it kind of‑‑ there's sort of a period of adjustment, I think, if you look back at Bryson's time when he started seeing any distance. He struggled at first with approaching the green because for him to hit a 110‑yard shot is a chip for him, know what I mean? And then to hit a 9‑iron 180 yards, there's an adjustment period. Obviously he's been adjusting very well, like he's proved winning a major at the U.S.Open.
But I think when a lot of the guys out here are talking about speed and picking up more speed, they don't realize it takes a toll on your body, and if your body is not used to, it'll affect your bag and kind of your whole game.
Kudos to those guys who are beefing up and getting the ball out there because they have a lot more to adjust more than people think.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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