Xander Schauffele admits to crying in ‘dark corners of motel rooms’ due to pressure

Xander Schauffele has shared his experiences of coping with the pressure of competing at the highest level of golf, acknowledging that he has occasionally cried while sitting on the floor of a motel room.

American PGA champion Xander Schauffele has admitted that the intense pressure he placed on himself prior to his victory at Valhalla caused him to cry in motel rooms.

Last month, Schauffele defeated Bryson DeChambeau to win the Wanamaker Trophy, ending his major championship drought. In the final round in May, the San Diego-born golfer sealed the deal with a stunning birdie putt at the 72nd hole, winning by a single stroke.

The victory was long overdue for Schauffele, who had gone through a number of near misses on the big stage in his career. Prior to making his breakthrough in Kentucky, he had also gone nearly two years without a victory on the PGA Tour.

Schauffele is among the world’s best golfers, but his path to a major championship wasn’t easy; every missed opportunity increased the pressure. “In the early going, I’ve sobbed in motel room corners to myself out of frustration,” Schauffele admitted.

“I experienced severe symptoms of performance anxiety. My family and my college buddy Austin, who is my caddie, abandoned everything to try to support me. That was a burden for me, and I wasn’t doing well either. I didn’t know if this would end up working. My thoughts were focused there.”

A week prior to his victory, Schauffele lost to Rory McIlroy in the closing stages of the Wells Fargo Championship, which prevented him from winning another PGA Tour title. But after just seven days, he pulled off an incredible comeback, winning the race from start to finish at Valhalla.

Crucially, the 30-year-old’slastbirdie putt hung on the verge of falling, signaling a turning point in his career. He said, “It was a career-defining putt, and those thoughts were flying through my head: how much I’ve wanted and dreamed about this since I was a kid,” in reflection on that game-winning putt.

“It irritates you when you start to accumulate those moments when you’re in the hunt and it gets away,” he went on. “I can live with someone beating me if I played well.” Nobody was placing more pressure on me to win than myself, but people keep asking you about it and your shoulder chip grows.”

His expression of relief was telling you how much it pleased him to see the ball lip in on the final hole. In addition to bringing Schauffele personal satisfaction, this victory helped him rise to a career-high second place in the world rankings, only behind Scottie Scheffler, the other major winner of the year.

Schauffele is expected to return to the green this week after a two-week hiatus. He’ll be taking part in The Memorial, the seventh marquee event on the 2024 PGA Tour schedule. A week later, Schauffele and the other golfers will travel to Pinehurst for the U. S. Open, which is the third major of the season.

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