| Asian Angle
Xander Schauffele, the season-ending Tour Championship winner, probably epitomises best what the PGA TOUR is all about these days, writes Chuah Choo Chiang.
Xander Schauffele, the season-ending Tour Championship winner, probably epitomises best what the PGA TOUR is all about these days.
Born in La Jolla, California, the 24-year-old has a name which is not typically American, holds a United States passport and has a father who is half French, half German and mother who is half Taiwanese. “I have a very international background, but I haven’t had the opportunity to travel a whole lot,” said Schauffele, who rose to fame by winning the season-ending TOUR Championship in September, which helped him finish third in the FedExCup standings.
“My dad’s half French, half German. My mom’s Taiwanese grew up in Japan. It’s cool that golf has kind of allowed me to start here in Malaysia, then Korea, then China. Growing up, it was always a dream of mine to play on the PGA TOUR and to kind of use golf as a tool to travel. I’ve never - I have a very international background, but I haven’t had the opportunity to travel a whole lot.”
Schauffele and the merry band from the PGA TOUR should buckle up and prepare for a wild ride in the future after spending three weeks competing in the mega PGA TOUR events in Asia.
After a two-week break, the PGA TOUR’s 2017-18 season started in full earnest in early October with the Safeway Open in Napa, California, won by Brendan Steele. Then, the TOUR headed full steam to the Far East for the eighth staging of the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, followed by the inaugural CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES in South Korea and World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in China.
The three Asian stops are part of the TOUR’s expansive 49-leg FedExCup schedule which will visit five other countries outside of the United States. For a rising star like Shauffale with such a colourful family
heritage, the opportunity to expand his horizons is an exhilarating prospect.
“I’m just excited to start the year off kind of on a different foot instead of in the States,” said Schauffele. “If you want to be one of the best players in the world, you have to be a global player. You have to collect fans in different countries and play well in different countries. I’m just really looking forward to the opportunity presented,” he said.
While Shauffele is amongst the Class of 2011 that includes Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Emiliano Grillo and Daniel Berger who have burst onto the PGA TOUR scene, the old guard is just as equally excited about how the game is growing around the world.
Recently inducted World Golf Hall of Fame member, Davis Love III, recalled the old days when he used to fly out to the occasional tournament in Asia. “In 1985 when I started on the TOUR, I never thought I would be playing in Malaysia in between playing at Pebble Beach and then New York, then Malaysia, then back to playing in Mississippi. You know, it really is amazing. They just seemed so far away… and now it’s just part of our TOUR,” said the 53-year-old. “It really isn’t the U.S. Tour. It’s the PGA TOUR.”
A 21-time PGA TOUR champion, Love welcomes the global expansion and snapped up the opportunity to compete in the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, which was inaugurated in 2010.
“I’ve watched the TOUR grow really around the world. With the Canada Tour, the Latin American Tour, playing two events now in Mexico, three over here (in Asia), it’s really growing. It’s an international game,” he said.
“We have to embrace that that we’re going to play around the world. Our TOUR is going to be kind of the world tour. Guys are coming from all around the world to play our TOUR as the premier place to play, so we have to come over here and play. It’s a great streak. My goal would be to get in all three of them next year; it would be a nice goal.”
Chuah Choo Chiang is Senior Director, Communications of the PGA TOUR and is based at TPC Kuala Lumpur.
"My dad's half French, half German. My mom's Taiwanese grew up in Japan. It's cool that golf has kind of allowed me to start here in Malaysia, then Korea, then China."
Justin Thomas celebrates with the trophy on the 18th green after winning the FedExCup and second in the TOUR Championship as Xander Schauffele celebrates with the winning Calamity Jane trophy at East Lake Golf Club
Schauffele celebrates with the Calamity Jane trophy after winning the TOUR Championship