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Olympic gold puts Schauffele among the elite golf players

Golf’s largest trophies tend to be silver and green. Everyone knows this because Xander Schauffele was close enough to dream of winning them.

No one doubted his impressive skill set or wondered why he was in the top 10 of the world for nearly three years. All that was missing was the victory of the signature.

The Olympic gold medal around his neck may be all that is needed.

“I had to get over the hump,” Schauffele said, and he did just that Sunday with as much pressure as he had ever felt. He took the lead in the second hole, made a 6-foot birdie on the 17th, and won with a par and one shot up and down from 98 yards.

He has moved to the 4th place in the world.

It was his fifth win, but he started by leading the final round for the first time. It dates back to the first tournament in 2019 and ended in just over 18 months without a trophy.

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He was Tiger Woods runner-up at the 2019 Masters. He had the flu but played against Rory McIlroy in Shanghai later that year. What really stabbed me was my low score in the Tour Championship last September without winning a trophy.

Under a new format based on FedEx Cup rankings, Schauffele started the tournament seven shots later. It appeared as a victory in the world rankings, but not in the case of trophies.

“It bothered me and my team. They know better than anyone I’ve knocked on the door,” Schauffele said. “So you get that victorious taste, then it’s swiped from you, and even if you’re playing really good golf, you’re a little sour. So for me, this is in my career Having a lead that was a really big point and being able to finish it.

“Every time I see someone do it on TV, it looks difficult,” he said. “And it was hard today.”

For the sport that has produced major champions from all continents where golf is played, the new Olympic champion represents the international dimension of golf more than anyone else.

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His mother is from Taiwan and raised in Japan, and Schauffele has grandparents in both countries. His father grew up in Germany with Austrians and French in his blood.

“I am the only naturally born citizen of my family,” said Schauffele, who was born and raised in San Diego and is newly married. “I was very international and taught me a lot about different cultures and I was able to understand a lot about different cultures. Everyone travels more and other cultures. I think they will be more happy to get along if they have the ability to experience. “

Schauffele made his professional debut in Japan. He laughed while talking about his grandparents coming to San Diego as a kid and that his suitcase “smells like Japan.”

“I don’t know how to explain it,” he said. “But every time I come here, I really appreciate the culture and how kind and respectful everyone is. And I speak for all players and all players in this area. I think, so I had comfort. “

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A German journalist approached his father, Stephan, early in the final round for a brief interview in his native language. Schauffele was posing for a photo with Rory Sabbatini (Silver) and CT Pan (Bronze) when his father was chatting in Japanese on a video call with his wife.

What is the language?

“It will be easier after the 6th time,” said Stefan Schauffele.

His father was allowed as a coach at the Kasumi Gakkei Country Club, but it wasn’t just a title through the gates. He is the only coach his son has ever had.

Stefan Schauffele was invited to the German training site for the 1988 Olympics as a decathlon at the age of 20, but was hit by drunk driving along the way. It led to more surgery and loss of his left eye than he remembers.

His Olympic dream ended before he knew how good he could be. Blindness sacrificed him the joy of the physical sport he loved. Then, I discovered golf that was intrigued by a game in which the ball did not move until it was hit.

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He became an assistant pro in Hawaii and eventually handed the game to his son.

Stefan Schauffele always runs the clock with monoculars about 200 yards away and can see where the ball is heading based on the swing. He looks as flat as his son.

“I’m an observer,” he said. “This is the process. When it’s over, I’m sure it will be emotional.”

That was all that.

When the national anthem was played and the flag was raised, the father leaned against the tree next to the 18th green and enjoyed the ultimate Olympic experience.

“For what happened to me, I promised myself that my kids would know how good they were whatever they were trying to do. In this case. It was golf, “said Stefan. “It’s a continuous process, but it’s fueled by the fact that I never knew how good I was.”

What about his son? Everyone should understand it better now.

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Olympic gold puts Schauffele among the elite golf players

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