The PLAYERS: Xander Schauffele sounds off on PGA Tour Commissioner

After PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan spoke to the press for the first time since August, Xander Schauffele was next in line in the media room.

Not even a minute of his press conference had passed, and Schauffele immediately fielded a question about Monahan’s leadership.

“I guess we will start with an easy one,” Schauffele said with a smile.

“Trust is something that’s pretty tender, so words are words. In my book, [Monahan has] a long way to go to gain the trust of the membership… I’m sure he’s got the support of the board since they were with him making some of those decisions, but for me personally, he’s got quite a long way to go.”

Schauffele has made similar comments before.

Last summer, ahead of the Genesis Scottish Open, Schauffele admitted he had lost trust in Monahan. At that point, the commissioner had taken a leave of absence to address anxiety stemming from the PGA Tour’s framework agreement with the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), the beneficiary of LIV Golf.

Jay Monahan, PGA Tour, The PLAYERS Championship

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan.
Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

“I don’t trust people easily,” Schauffele said in July. “He had my trust, and he has a lot less of it now. So I don’t stand alone when I say that.”

Many other professionals have expressed similar sentiments within the past year, such as Jordan Spieth and Scottie Scheffer.

And they have reason to do so. Before striking a deal with the PIF, Monahan paraded the tour’s efforts while disparaging LIV Golf and all it stood for. He also leaned on 9/11 families, asking players on live television in 2022, “Have you ever had to apologize for playing on the PGA Tour?”

Then, behind everyone’s backs, Monahan and a select number of PGA Tour leaders struck a deal with the PIF, hoping to bring the game back together again.

That did not sit well with the players, and it still does not to this day—almost one year later.

Still, Schauffele can only control so much.

“I haven’t really put a whole lot of thought, honestly, into what would make me feel good about this whole thing,” Schauffele added.

Xander Schauffele, PGA Tour, The Sentry

Xander Schauffele hits a tee shot during the final round of The Sentry in 2024.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

“As I said [at The Sentry in Maui], I really put my head in the sand, and what would make me feel good is to raise this trophy [at The PLAYERS] on Sunday. I haven’t really thought too much about how to alleviate the pains of an entire membership.”

Over the past few years, Monahan has changed the structure of a handful of events. Known as Signature Events for the 2024 season, these tournaments feature elevated purses, limited fields, and often no cut. The Arnold Palmer Invitational recently served as the fourth iteration of this concept this season.

But these changes have not affected Schauffele’s approach to preparing for an event.

“I don’t see myself preparing or thinking about it any different than I did prior to the splitting of tours,” Schauffele said.

“I just see less of the guys that I’m used to seeing when I first came out on TOUR. So that aspect is different. But my day-to-day is pretty much the same. Still trying to prepare and win these events like I was prior.”

Despite these changes and aversions within the professional game, Schauffele still enjoys going to work every day. He loves playing golf. He loves his job, and at the end of the day, that’s what matters the most to him.

“For me to come and work and mess up and then try again or hit a good shot and try and validate it, to me, it’s the best job in the world,” Schauffele said.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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