Xander Schauffele: A mouthful or the next big thing?

Tarek Fattal

Indifference is somewhat harsh, especially if you’re a golf fan, but after a well-earned GreenBrier Classic win – first PGA Tour win of his career – Xander Schauffele may not garner your care, but he’ll definitely matter to the PGA Tour.

Schauffele went 64, 69, 66 and 67 in the final round (-14) to beat Robert Streb by one stroke Sunday in West Virginia, proving his U.S. Open performance in June and sudden surge into the spotlight should not be taken lightly.

Besides the potential marketing opportunities because of his name, Xander, the nickname and tagline possibilities are endless. Case and point:

Schauffele is rising quickly after arriving on the tour in 2015. A collegiate standout to start, a player that made quick work of the Web.com Tour, and now capturing his second tournament win (2017 Greenbrier Classic and 2015 Northern California Open) in as many years as a pro shows promise.

To boot, Schauffele has grit. This shot came on the par-3 18th hole from 161 yards, which he executed while co-leading with Streb.

Grit is an attribute that every network, broadcast crew and sponsor wants to see. The thrill of competition was present throughout the entire weekend as the 23-year grinded to keep potential clubhouse leaders at bay before providing the tournament-winning performance on the final hole.

The California native made it look easy, but that wasn’t the case.

“Very shaky. Extremely nervous,” Schauffele told CBS Sports’ Dottie Pepper. “Typical first victory. I’m at a loss for words. It just changed my life, really. I need a little bit of time to take it all in.”

The win qualifies Schauffele for the British Open in Royal Birkdale in two weeks. Vegas odds on him aren’t out yet, but they will be. The storyline for him the last month or so has been brilliant – a mix of ‘rookie sensation’, a sprinkle of newly added silverware and, of course, a heavy dose of potential makes Xander a must-watch pro – at least for now.

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