Xander Schauffele is trying to adjust from the underdog mentality that led to much of his success as he looks to address his closing issues this season.
Schauffele played amateur and college golf amongst the likes of Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas but never gained the same exposure, leading to a determined mental spirit of trying to prove people wrong.
This competitive desire within saw immediate success as he burst onto the scene as the Rookie of the Year in 2017, winning twice including the TOUR Championship.
Even when he kept winning in following seasons ,Schauffele would continue to create the underdog theme in his mind as his success pushed him higher in the estimation of his peers and pundits alike.
But now, despite being in the midst of an impressive season that boasts six top-5 finishes and has him sitting sixth in the FedExCup, Schauffele says it’s time for a mindset adjustment. He is without a win since claiming the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January of 2019 and it is this fact that has the 27-year-old rethinking how he has approached the mental side of his game.
Xander Schauffele, statements
“I think it’s funny… I think this whole underdog role is probably why I’ve been successful… and it’s always important to play with a chip on your shoulder, but at the same time I think it might be the reason that’s maybe holding me back in big moments. When you’re trying to win tournaments and once you’re at the top of a leaderboard, you can’t chase a ghost. So there’s no one in front of you to sort of bite at and so I think mentally it’s such a new realm for my brain that I’m just trying to process it all and really get more comfortable and think differently, once I’m at the top. I’ve talked a lot with my dad about that… (and I’m) trying to read some material that will help me sort of explore some new kind of avenues with how my brain will think. I think it’s OK to chomp at the bit moving up, but once you’re up there you got to be assertive and comfortable and do the right things still, you can’t really be like waiting for someone to get ahead of you to chase again. I still need to get to the top of the leaderboard to try out all these new things and I think all these experiences in the past are going to help me be more comfortable once I’m back there. But it’s more of an overall thought process I’m trying to change moving forward”.