Cantlay and Schauffele Go Wire to Wire at Zurich

Zurich Classic

NEW ORLEANS – Team events like the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup are counter to the typical solo pursuits of the typical professional golf circuit, but there’s a sense of pride in country that bonds a team. The Zurich Classic of New Orleans is a partnership of two, it’s more casual than cut throat – more friendship than collaborative team building. In other words it’s a fun format.

Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele have formed a friendship that is rarely seen within top ten players in the world – it all started at the 2019 Presidents Cup, where the two were paired together and the rest is history. That bond proved fruitful, going wire-to-wire to win the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana. An opening 59 in Four-ball play set the stage for their record setting 29-under total. A couple of mid-round bogeys made things a bit testy coming home, but at the end, they emerged victorious by two over Billy Horschel and Sam Burns.

The two unlikely friends both of SoCal origins, met at a college event – Cantlay from UCLA, Schauffele from San diego State. “I remember it. I don’t think Pat really remembers it. He has this ability or strength to go into sort of an autopilot mode where not much fazes him, hence Patty Ice. He was kind of in Patty Ice mode at UCLA when we played,” Schauffele laughed. “I think he shot 65 and I shot 78, something of that nature. I sat there and I was like, ‘This guy is a lot better than me at golf.’ That’s kind of what I thought at the time. It’s kind of funny, full circle, here we are.” Cantlay chimed in, “Sorry, 63. That sounds right, actually,” Schauffele noted, “But he had me down for a 72 after the round. He handed me my card, and I was like, ‘I wish.’ He just had no clue what I shot.”

Cantlay went on, “I don’t think either of us would have gone out of their way to be friends with each other, but then spending that time together, we realized that we really got along with each other,” Cantlay said prior to last year’s Ryder Cup. “He’s incredibly smart, and incredibly conscientious. He is someone that probably brings out the best in me. He’s more positive, and he has a way of being lighter as opposed to me being serious. Yet he’s very quiet and reserved, so we kind of have that bond, and yet he balances me out a little bit.

“If we were at a regular tournament, there’s no way I would have spent time or gone out of my way to invest in a relationship with one of the other guys I was playing against. But now that he’s on my team and it might help me in my golf to get along with this guy, I realize that I really liked him as a person, and we’ve become great friends. That would probably be the best thing about weeks like this.”

“I definitely can be exactly myself with Xander, and I don’t think twice about it. He knows exactly who I am,” Cantlay added. “I think that really benefits both of us. We both feel like we can be exactly ourselves and don’t have to put anything extra on.”

Xander concurred, “Usually when you spend a lot of time with someone, you sort of maybe stop liking them as much, and so Pat and I, we spent several hours playing cards. He kicked my ass, unfortunately,” Schauffele said. “But I didn’t stop liking him. And we’ve spent more and more time together and we’ve started to get along more and more. It kind of speaks to our friendship in that sense.”

Although they had mixed results in Melbourne (they went 2-2), when they teamed up in the 2021 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, they promptly were 2-0 in those matches.

Scores: https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html

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