Xander Schauffele has been a breath of fresh air since arriving on Tour, showing a high level of professionalism and unquestionable talent, but he has been left outraged with the R&A after the news that his driver was found to be illegal was leaked.
The news broke following the R&A's driver test on Tuesday, where for the second consequitive year, the governing body of the Open tested 30 random drivers to ensure the club speeds were not beyond the legal limit.
Multiple stars were chosen for the test, including Tiger Woods, who missed the cut after he failed to recover from his poor opening round, but it was confirmed his driver passed the test.
Schauffele, who uses a Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero driver, was also picked for the test and believes his results were leaked to the media by the R&A, causing allegations around the American who has been called a 'cheater' by some.
Speaking to the media after his two-under third round on Saturday, Schauffele was quick to show his frustration regarding the allegation that the R&A had leaked his test results to the media.
"The R&A, they pissed me off because they attempted to ruin my image by not keeping this matter private,” he said. “This is me coming out and treating them the exact way they treated me.
"I thought it was a little bit unfair. We’re the traveling circus. There’s certain moving parts on Tour here — and everyone on the grounds knew for some odd reason. So that’s enough to throw me off my game. I can handle it, I’m a big boy,” he said. “But it was just handled unprofessionally. And it did tick me off, for sure."
Schauffele made it clear that he believes the way the PGA Tour go about their testing is much more professional than that of the R&A and that he feels it's not his position to monitor his driver's speed levels.
"I don’t sit at home and test my driver, you know. To my best belief, I was playing a conforming driver. I think the R&A’s job…well, the PGA Tour takes it up with the manufacturer. Our job as players is to show up to tournaments, put on a show for the R&A and for the Tour and to handle our business. It’s not to make sure our stuff is conforming."
The worst part of the alleged leak for Schauffele, is the reaction from his fellow professionals, one of whom called him a cheater in public.
"It is an unsettling topic. I’ve been called a cheater by my fellow opponents. It’s all joking, but when someone yells ‘cheater’ in front of 200 people, to me it’s not going to go down very well." Schauffele did say that the player and he are on good terms and that the comment was said as a joke. "He thought it was funny," he said.
Joke or no joke, the comment still clearly upset Schauffele. "That’s not something you joke about," he said. When Schauffele was practicing his chipping before his Saturday round, another player joined in on the joke. "Someone else was like… ‘Oh, are your wedges illegal now?'"
Schauffele's frustration was clear, so clear that he was happy to drop names of other brands who had failed the driver test.
"Other drivers failed," he alleged. "I’ll just say it, I’m pretty sure a PXG driver failed and a TaylorMade driver failed and the Callaway driver failed. This matter should be private. But R&A didn’t do their job in keeping it private. So I don’t feel like I should — I can tell you right now what happened, or what I know."
After Schauffele made his comments, a PXG representative stated that only one PXG driver was involved in the test (Billy Horschel's) and it passed, while TaylorMade and Callaway refused to comment.