Schauffele set to reap PGA glory after Olympics gold medal

Sporting: Xander Schauffele (right) posing with his father Stefan after winning the Olympics men’s golf gold medal. — AP

TORONTO: Olympic men’s golf champion Xander Schauffele said on Tuesday he is ready to get back to work on the PGA Tour this week in Memphis, Tennessee, after the biggest win of his career.

Schauffele secured a one-stroke victory at the Olympics on Sunday and may be dealing with jetlag after arriving in Memphis on Monday but is raring to go for this week’s WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind.

“Playing really well and obviously having a gold medal is just feeding my energy,” Schauffele told reporters. “That’s the rush we really chase and it does feel good and it’s really rewarding to pull it off and I’m ready to get back to work.”

The 27-year-old American arrived at his pre-tournament media availability with his PGA Tour credential hanging around his neck but eventually swapped it for the gold medal that was stuffed into his pocket.

Schauffele said he might not have had the medal with him if his swing coach father Stefan, a former decathlete whose dreams of representing Germany at the Olympics were crushed nearly 40 years ago when a car crash left him blind in one eye, had his way.

“My dad slept with it the first night, so I didn’t even have it with me the day I won it,” said Schauffele.

“He was going to take it to San Diego, he was going to take it back home to his house and parade around with his friends but I told him I had a little media to do and I’m sure everyone wanted to see the gold medal here. Sort of my moment in the sun with it.”

After his gold medal triumph, Schauffele said he had some celebratory drinks and the next morning had breakfast with his maternal grandparents, who live in Japan and managed to get a hotel room next to his.

Schauffele, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour in search of his first Major triumph, said that dining experience helped him get a better grasp of how big his gold medal triumph is.

“It’s pretty hard to impress someone who’s almost 90 years old and has been on this planet for a long time,” Schauffele said of his grandparents.

“They’ve seen a lot of things, and to see my grandpa and my grandma’s reaction when I pull out this gold medal, sort of it really was surprising, it shocked me.” — Reuters

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