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Schauffele: Rory McIlroy in ‘difficult situation’ due to intensive microscope

As someone who holds the unofficial title of “best player to ever win a major,” Xander Schauffele can empathize with Rory McIlroy’s decision not to play in this week’s Travelers Championship.

After missing a pair of short putts on the final three holes on Sunday to finish second by a stroke to Bryson DeChambeau at the US Open, McIlroy left Pinehurst No. 2 without speaking to reporters and announced the next day that he won’t do that. play again until next month’s Scottish Open.

McIlroy’s decade-long major drought will continue at least until the Open Championship in July. Meanwhile, Schauffele is still riding the high of his first major title win at last month’s PGA Championship. Until outlasting DeChambeau’s stroke at Valhalla Golf Club, Schauffele had a reputation for struggling to close the lead on the final lap.

“As a competitor, we’ve all had our highs and lows to some extent. It’s a tough situation,” Schauffele said Tuesday when asked how much empathy he has for McIlroy’s current situation. I’m sure he and his team are talking about what happened and sometimes you just have to step back from it and really try to be as objective as possible because you’re very much in the moment and obviously that didn’t happen. he’s just going about his business and he just needs some time to figure out what’s going on.

McIlroy has been criticized for fleeing Pinehurst and returning home without speaking to reporters after Sunday’s final round. He issued a statement Monday congratulating DeChambeau and announcing he will be taking a break from golf for a few weeks.

The Northern Irishman acknowledged it was “probably the toughest” day of his professional career but vowed to show resilience when he returns to the Scottish Open, followed by The Open at Royal Troon.

“It’s different for everyone. It’s hard for me to compare my losses to his losses,” Schauffele said. “I would say he’s under a bit of a bigger microscope. When things are going really well, people everywhere are focused on him, and unfortunately, when things aren’t going your way, people everywhere are focused on him.

“So there’s a microscope on him about why he didn’t win and all that, and he’s going to have to answer those questions at some point and he will, because he always does. So for me, I carry them.” pretty hard, but sometimes it’s nice to just get back on the horse and compete.”

Schauffele is coming off a T7 at the US Open – the seventh top-10 in the past eight individual starts for the world’s No. 3-ranked player entering the final signature event of the year.

Schauffele also secured one of four spots on Team USA for the Paris Olympics, where he will defend his gold medal in August.

“It’s super special,” he said. “It’s always an honor to represent your country in any given tournament or event, so it was really cool that I could share with my family after winning the gold medal, and qualifying was my first goal this year. It is a very difficult task. team that you have to qualify for, as you guys have seen on this American side.

“That was a really big goal of mine to get back and I’m really looking forward to competing again.”

–Field level media REUTERS