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A hot week in every statistical category wasn’t enough for Callaway star Xander Schauffele to get over the line at the Players Championship, although a tie for second at TPC Sawgrass shows promise for the upcoming Masters at Augusta National.

The San Diego native enjoyed a complete performance around the tricky Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Florida. Schauffele was ranked in the top 20 in all four major strokes gained categories: off the tee he was 18th, approach the green he was 14th, around the green he was 13th and putting he was eighth.

With his red Odyssey Toulon Design Las Vegas Prototype 7CH, Schauffele was masterful on the greens for four rounds at TPC Sawgrass. He didn’t need more than 30 putts in any round and on day three went around the Stadium course with just 23 putts.

One putt he likely would want a mulligan on was the short birdie putt at the famed par-3 17th. Schauffele took on the Sunday pin position on the righthand side, much to the delight of the crowd, with his 52-degree Jaws Raw wedge for the 137-yard tee shot. He hit one of the shots of the week, the ball settling seven feet from the hole. But Schauffele pulled the putt left, missing out on the chance to join the lead. On No.18, needing birdie to force a playoff, world No.5 Schauffele hit his tee shot through the fairway and into the pine straw on the right. He was unable to get it close enough to the hole for a good look at birdie.

Schauffele’s five birdies and three bogeys gave him a final round of 70, and he was tied second at 19 under par, one shot back of the winner.

“I’d say my “A” game would be a little bit more than 2-under but I hung in there,” Schauffele said after his final round. “I gave myself a realistic chance. Not on 18, but on 17. If I made that [birdie], it could have been a different story.

“My dad told me a long time ago to commit, execute, and accept. I’m swallowing a heavy dose of acceptance right now, but that’s kind of what I did. I tried to commit, I executed poorly on some shots, and here I am accepting it.

“I’m going to lick my wounds. I’ll probably join [critics who tick this up as another close call for me] in the ‘Hateraide’ at this moment. But it is what it is. These [close calls] suck. When I went to bed last night, it’s not exactly how I envisioned walking off the 18th green. I’ll lick my wounds and right back to it next week.”

Schauffele, who finished T2 in 2018, is one of 10 players in the 50-year history of the Players with multiple runner-up finishes (no one has more than two).

“A ton of positives; I haven’t cracked an egg since they moved this tournament to this time of year [March from its previous May slot] … to hang in there with the best [players] is good for me to know.”

Schauffele will play next week’s Valspar Championship before gearing up for the year’s first major at the Masters in mid-April. Schauffele has three top 10s at the Masters, including a T2 in 2019 and a T3 in 2021, as well as a T10 last year.


Driver Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond, 10.5°

Fairway woods: Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond fairway

Irons: Apex utility 23 degrees, Apex TCB irons (4-PW)

Wedges: Callaway Jaws Raw (52 degrees)

Putter: Odyssey Toulon Design Las Vegas Prototype 7CH

Meanwhile, two other Callaway ambassadors fared well at the Players Championship, considered golf’s unofficial fifth major. Si Woo Kim, the 2017 winner at TPC Sawgrass, was just four shots behind Schauffele in a tie for sixth after a final-round 64. It was the equal-lowest round of the day. Kim finished the week ranked ninth in both strokes gained off the tee and in putting. Kim was driving for show with his Ai Smoke Triple Diamond driver and putting for dough using his Odyssey 2 Ball 10 (long). He gained 3.864 shots on the field from off the tee and a whopping 4.790 shots on the greens.

Christiaan Beziudenhout was the other Callaway staffer to finish in the top 15 at Sawgrass with his 11-under total earning a share of 13th.

Both the LPGA and DP World Tour took a break this week.