"He's Rory McIlroy you know?" Xander Schauffele hits back after 'choker' comments

Xander Schauffele believes his short game let him down at the Wells Fargo Championship, but there was little he could have done to deny a red-hot Rory McIlroy on Sunday.

Xander Schauffele
Xander Schauffele

Xander Schauffele admits he needs to 'clean up' his short game if he is to get back in the winners circle for the first time in nearly two years on the PGA Tour.

Schauffele, 30, was left to rue yet another missed opportunity to close out an eighth title on the PGA Tour as final-round playing partner Rory McIlroy, 35, stepped in to claim a record fourth Wells Fargo Championship

McIlroy scorched the Charlotte turf in 65 shots, while Schauffele stumbled to a lacklustre 71. 

It all led to a barrage of criticism from Schauffele critics on social media on Sunday night, with many labelling him the 'biggest choker' currently on the PGA Tour. 


Schauffele has now chalked up 21 top-10 finishes since his last victory on the PGA Tour, which came at the Genesis Scottish Open in July 2022. 

He took a commanding four-shot lead into the weekend at Quail Hollow, but it was whittled down to just one shot by McIlroy heading into Sunday.

McIlroy caught up with Schauffele following a birdie on the 1st, but then Schauffele marched into a two-shot lead when draining an eagle from 10 feet on the par-5 7th.

Sadly for Schauffele, it then all went wrong. 

Schauffele believes his short game has let him down
Schauffele believes his short game has let him down

Schauffele came up short of the pin with a simple chip at the driveable par-4 8th, and it left the door open for McIlroy, who made a birdie from 12 feet to peg the deficit back to one. 

McIlroy then well and truly took the wind out of Schauffele's sails when surging into the lead with another birdie at 9 followed by an eagle from 30 feet at 10. 

Schauffele then made a complete hash of the 12th and 13th with back-to-back bogeys to hand the title on a plate to McIlroy. 

Rory McIlroy with a record fourth Wells Fargo title
Rory McIlroy with a record fourth Wells Fargo title

The Northern Irishman then made birdies at both 13 and 14 and then holed out from the greenside bunker at 15 for another eagle to ensure the tournament became a procession. 

Even a double on 18 saw McIlroy take the title by five shots on 17-under par. 

While Schauffele knows he let another title slip away from him, largely a result of his short game, he wants it to be known to his haters there was little he could have done to keep pace with McIlroy on Sunday. 

McIlroy stormed ahead of Schauffele in the final round
McIlroy stormed ahead of Schauffele in the final round

Speaking to reporters after the round, a somewhat deflated Schauffele said: 

"He's Rory McIlroy, you know? He hits it 350 yards in the air downwind and he has shorter clubs into firm greens than anyone else. When he's on, he's on. Hats off to him for winning. Yeah, he played unbelievably well."

He added: 

"I felt like I controlled the ball off the tee pretty well, some of those fairways are pretty daunting. Hit some incredible iron shots that I haven't been able to do in quite some time, you know, right to left and left to right. 

"Overall, I just need to clean up my short game, it's always been a deciding factor whether I win a tournament or not, sort of a trigger stat for me, and it definitely hurt me today."

Schauffele has let a number of tournaments slip out of his hands the past 18 months, none more so than the Players Championship (where he also responded to his haters) and the Wells Fargo Championship this season.

Nevertheless, Schauffele's latest runner-up finish does bump him up one place in the Official World Golf Rankings to third as he bids to land his first major title at the US PGA.

He also earned a small sum of $2.1m

Schauffele is currently priced up at 18/1 to etch his name on the Wanamaker Trophy this week. 

Scottie Scheffler
Scottie Scheffler

World No.1 Scottie Scheffler is once again a red-hot favourite at 4/1 to win back-to-back majors in 2024. 

There had been some doubt as to whether the reigning Masters champion would be able to compete in the US PGA after his wife Meredith was expecting their first child.

But news emerged from Sports Illustrated's Bob Harig over the weekend that Baby Scheffler is now born, and Daddy Scheffler is therefore able to compete at Valhalla. 

McIlroy's price to win the US PGA has been slashed in to 6/1 from 12/1 after landing his 26th title on the PGA Tour and his second in a row on the circuit. 

He is bidding to win his fifth major title and his first in nearly 10 years. 

LIV Golf's Brooks Koepka, who won in his last start on the breakaway league, is the defending champion and he is third in the betting market at 14/1

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