Xander Schaufelle Wins PGA Championship as his First Major

Xander Schaufelle Wins PGA Championship as his First Major May 19, 2024

Xander Schauffele: Sports Illustrated

Thirty-year old Xander Schaufelle finally broke through into the winners’ circle today by shooting a six-under par 65 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, to win his first major–the 106th PGA Championship. He won by one stroke over muscleman Bryson DeChambeau by holing a five-foot birdie putt on the last hole. As hard-working DeChambeau was banging out balls on the practice tee, preparing and hoping for a playoff, Schaufelle’s ball on the 18th green curled halfway around the edge of the cup before disappearing into the hole. It couldn’t have happened to more deserving guy since he has been in the hunt so much in majors, with 13 top 10s without a win.

Xander said in his TV interview afterwards, “I was actually kind of emotional after the putt lipped in. … I really didn’t want to go into a playoff against Bryson.” Indeed, DeChambeau shot 64 and had been charging with much emotion in the final holes.

Professing Christian Bryson DeChambeau, who has one major win with the 2020 U.S. Open, showed gentlemanly sportsmanship afterwards by saying, “Proud of Xander for finally getting the job done. I mean, he’s an amazing golfer and a well-deserved major champion now. He’s played well for a long, long time. Played against him as a junior. Not only is he just a great human being, but an unbelievable golfer, and it shows this week. Super happy for him.”

Schaufelle had begun the day with a one stroke lead that he was trying to protect all day against several players who were chasing him, especially DeChambeau, Victor Hovland who finished third, and Collin Morikawa who tied for fourth. And for Schaufelle to win, he had to shoot the most under par–21 under–ever recorded in a major championship. Even though this Jack Nicklaus-designed course is truly of championship calibre, earlier rains had softened its turf to make play a bit easier.

Scottie Sheffler Arrested

Scottie Scheffler: Louisville Metro Police Department

And regarding rain, Scottie Scheffler, also a professing Christian and the #1 pro golfer in the world for the past 52 weeks, experienced a bizzare and sad Friday morning that was much in the news. During rain and darkness and at about 5:00 AM Friday morning, a transportation shuttle bus hit and killed a security employee on the road just outside the Valhalla Golf Club entrance. It caused an increase of police personnel that stopped traffic. As Scheffler was driving his vehicle on this road, he tried to navigate the stalled traffic and was arrested for reckless driving and second-degree assault of a police officer, which is a felony. He was then handcuffed and jailed without any authorities knowing who he was. He admitted he didn’t want to “drop names.”

Scheffler said he was fearful and shaken emotionally about the incident. He had doubt about making his tee time. He then was released from jail a little more than an hour later and taken to the Valhalla course. Scottie was barely able to hit some warmup shots before teeing off on time. However, that was only because the tournament officials had delayed play about 1.5 hours due only to the death of the security guard. Yet Scheffler shot a five-under par 66 to put himself in contention, only three strokes behind the leader. Nevertheless, he shot 73 Saturday and 65 Sunday to finish tied for 8th. Only a few days earlier, Scottie had become a father for the first time.

This police arrest may a first for the PGA Tour. Scheffler is scheduled to appear in Louisville court next Tuesday. But police have now announced that they have no video footage of the incident. Scottie said the mishap was caused by confusion in directions by officers directing traffic. It remains to be seen if these serious charges against him will be dropped.

PGA Tour Versus LIV Golf

Regarding the tournament, this exciting finish kept golf fans mindful of the chaos that pro golf has been suffering in recent times with the emergence of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf league stealing PGA Tour stars like DeChambeau by offering them more money. There has arisen an unofficial competition between LIV pros and PGA Tour pros who compete in majors, which is the only time of the year when they meet in competition. The two sides made a tentative agreement eleven months ago, but no progress has been made since.

 

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