Xander Schauffele has splendidly built off his 2016-17 Rookie of the Year campaign, where he earned his first top-5 finish at a majors championship with his 5th place showing at the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills. The next season, he tied for 2nd at the 2018 British Open at Carnoustie with a 6-under par.
He finds himself on familiar ground at the 2019 Masters, currently sitting in 2nd place with a 6-under entering third round action Saturday. He trails at 5-way tie at 7-under, and is currently in lockstep with Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods and Justin Harding.
Like Woods, Schauffele is a biracial Southern California native. He was born Alexander Victor Schauffele on October 25, 1993, in San Diego.
As far as Schauffele’s nationality goes, his father, Stefan, is German and French (hence his last name) and his mother, Ping Yi, was born in Taiwan and raised in Japan.
Stefan Schauffele was a “German Olympic hopeful in the decathlon,” according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. However, he was involved in a head-on car accident with a drunk driver that ended his career. A shard of windshield glass pierced his left eye.
Stefan ended up moving to San Diego, California, where he attended then-named United State International Academy. In 1998, he met Ping-Yi. According to PGA.com:
Stefan Schauffele and Ping-Yi Chen literally crossed each other’s paths one spring day at San Diego’s United States International University (now Alliant) in 1988. She was 20 and didn’t speak English; he was 23 and couldn’t fathom Japanese. They somehow found an instant chemistry.“Through touch,” Stefan said with a grin.“It was feelings and instincts,” Ping-Yi added.
Xander actually comes from a long line of athletes. Before Stefan there was Richard “Molly” Schauffele.
A mountain of a man at 6-feet-8, would later become one of the country’s most accomplished discus and javelin throwers, winning more than 40 titles.
Also like Woods, Schauffele has an extra motivational relationship with his father. Stefan, who eventually became a golf pro in Hawaii and San Diego, trains vigorously with Xander, who describes the sessions rather cheerfully as “explosive” and “electric.”
“There is no great golfer or sportsman who isn’t an alpha male,” Stefan said. “You have to have this fire and avoid all emotion — destroy your opponent and later take him in arms.
“Xander is very stubborn and very alpha male, and I’m certainly exactly like that. We are two guys who were absolutely programmed to collide.”
This approach has put a chip on Xander’s shoulders, according to his putting coach Derek Uyeda.
“He’s got a chip on his shoulder the size of the Earth,” Uyeda told the San Diego Tribune. “Xander didn’t come from money. He didn’t even have a car at this time last year because it broke down. He had to borrow his brother’s car.”
From that, Xander has earned nearly $12 million in his short time on the PGA Tour. He has a chance for a major paycheck ($11 million) and a green jacket with a quality final two days at Augusta National this weekend.