Xander Schauffele’s Ryder Cup wish: Fewer team dinners

Xander Schauffele’s Ryder Cup wish: Fewer team dinners
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If Keegan Bradley is going to succeed as U.S. Ryder Cup captain, Xander Schauffele believes Bradley must limit what’s expected of his players off the golf course.

During a press conference Tuesday at the Genesis Scottish Open, Schauffele was asked about the recently appointed captain, as well as what Bradley could do differently after last year’s embarrassing defeat in Rome, where the U.S. team not only battled an in-form European side but also several distractions, including questions on how much a few of the American players really wanted to be there.

Those criticisms stemmed from a report that the U.S. team room was “fractured” largely because of Schauffele and teammate Patrick Cantlay; U.S. captain Zach Johnson and several players vehemently denied that report, though Schauffele’s father, Stefan, did reveal later that his son nearly had his spot on the team revoked because of a dispute over a few contract terms. (Schauffele later said his dad’s words got “twisted.”)

With much time now passed, Schauffele said Tuesday that ultimately, the Americans’ loss can be chalked up to poor performance. “Myself, I felt like I played awful,” he said.

But Schauffele also noted that he felt like he and his fellow teammates’ plates were too full that week in Rome. A good captain, Schauffele says, will cut back as many ancillary obligations – or as Schauffele called it, “knickknacky stuff” – as possible.

“I feel like Keegan would understand sort of when we need to get up, when we need to practice, and when you need to do this and hopefully dodge anything you don’t have to do, and maybe that will help us,” Schauffele said.

Schauffele was asked to follow-up on what exactly he would like the dodge next time around should he qualify for the team next year at Bethpage Black.

“Taking a bunch of photos all dressed up,” Schauffele answered. “I would be the first guy that I need to flee quickly. It just seems like it’s all these little – even like team dinners or things of that nature, we can have them sort of quick and inside versus having to go out, dress up and all those things. It’s just small things. I think there’s two or three dinners that we have to go to that are kind of mandatory-ish, and I think if we cut it down to one or two versus three that would be a really big deal.”

(It’s worth noting that Cantlay was excused by Johnson from last year’s welcome dinner.)

Later in his presser, Schauffele also expressed the need to shake up how the U.S. team prepares leading into match week, noting that most of the Europeans competed in a tournament two weeks prior.

“I think that’s maybe heading over earlier as a team together; not three months earlier or one month earlier, just a week early or five days earlier, whatever we can agree to,” Schauffele said. “I think that will make a big difference.”

Also worth noting: The Americans took a scouting trip to Marco Simone about two weeks before the event; Schauffele and Cantlay did not attend.

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