Schauffele nearly had Ryder Cup spot revoked

golf02 October 2023 22:30| © Reuters
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Xander Schauffele © Gallo Images

Xander Schauffele, an automatic qualifier for the United States team at the 2023 Ryder Cup, could have been removed from the squad in a contract dispute, his father told the Times of London.

The golfer wanted to make three amendments to the player participation and benefit agreement but was threatened by the PGA of America to sign by the September deadline or be pulled from the team, Stefan Schauffele told the paper in a story Monday.

"The PGA of America were not willing to even talk to us about (the three amendments)," Stefan Schauffele told The Times. "It was very late in the schedule right before the team came (to Rome) to practice because they had moved the deadline and they said, ‘If you don't sign it by then, you're off the team,' but they never gave us the contact information of their legal counsel.

"Saturday morning of Labor Day weekend (September 2), finally, the head of the PGA of America got wind of this, because it was not him that was blocking it, and put our lawyers in contact with the PGA of America's general counsel, and then it took a few hours to hash it out and it was fine. Then I received a message that Xander was back on the team. That you can quote. That's the extent of this and I think it's shameful."

Xander Schauffele and the Americans lost to Team Europe 16 1/2-11 1/2 on Sunday at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club outside Rome. Europe has claimed eight of the last 11 Ryder Cups, as the US team failed to end a road drought that dates to 1993.

The PGA of America, which runs the Ryder Cup in conjunction with Ryder Cup Europe, declined to comment to The Times and had not immediately replied to other media outlets' inquiries.

The Americans had an awful start to the competition, and the emotionally-charged event was heightened by a story in Sky Sports reporting a fracture on the US team led by Patrick Cantlay, who allegedly thought players should be compensated to play in the Ryder Cup. They are paid $200 000 to go to the charity of their choosing.

Cantlay repeatedly denied the allegation, saying the story was false and that he wasn't wearing a team hat because it didn't fit, not out of protest. He said the Ryder Cup was about representing the country, not getting paid for competing.

Still, he was taunted by spectators waving their hats toward him, and US teammates showed a playful side by tipping their hats at him after a match victory.

Cantlay and Xander Schauffele apparently wanted the player agreement amended so that a Netflix documentary crew didn't have access to the team room while filming a second season of the "Full Swing" series, for which players are not compensated. Later, US captain Zach Johnson said the team voted unanimously to keep out cameras to preserve the "sanctity and sacredness of" the team room.

Stefan Schauffele said more discussions are needed between the US players, the PGA of America and Team Europe about how the money from the Ryder Cup is distributed. Instead, the organisation is being secretive and non-communicative, he said.

"They are using players' intellectual properties to make money and the American players don't get paid," Stefan Schauffele told The Times. "More importantly, this would become a non-issue if all proceeds, net proceeds, from the Ryder Cup were to be donated to common charitable causes. Right now, the American players are asked to donate their time pro-bono in the name of patriotism so these organisations can benefit from the profits.

"The PGA (of America) uses this money, and the PGA Tour gets 20 per cent that goes into the retirement of every member. The 12 players supposedly need to eat it and their intellectual property gets abused for the benefit of 200 other people. That's not right."