Tuesday, April 13

'I Flushed It': Xander Schauffele Explains the Tee Shot That Drowned His Hopes at the Masters

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JUST WHEN IT GOT INTERESTING late on Sunday at the Masters, when Xander Schauffele pulled within two shots of Mr. Steady, Hidecki Matsuyama, when he had the honors at the par-3 16th and could cozy a short iron within birdie distance and apply more pressure, the worst thing happened. Water.

Who hits it in the pond on 16? The CBS broadcast team mentioned it was a rare occurrence these days.

As I remember, Schauffele's ball seemed to be flying directly at the pin, not the safer line of right of flag to let it catch the slope and funnel to the hole. Plus the shot came up short. Had it been hit farther right it would have stayed dry.

What happened? Was it a pull? Was it a mishit?

No, not according to Xander. "I flushed it."


I was coming in hot, I was feeling good. Hideki surprisingly went for the green on 15. I felt like he gave me a little bit of hope there, and maybe a little hyperaggressive there on 16. I've been told so many things by so many veterans. Play the winds you feel. Austin [his caddie] and I, it was 184, we felt down cut at the moment. I hit an 8-iron, and I flushed it. It was not down cut.

No, I hit a perfect shot. I told Austin I flushed it, which makes it even worse. We can share the misery together. I fought hard. It was a messy start. Hideki was robot-like for 13 holes, didn't make a mistake. I felt like I gave him a little bit of run and a little bit of excitement to the tournament there at the end. Unfortunately, hit it in the drink there.

Schauffele is moving on. At least that's his story.

"I hit a good shot. I committed to it. It turned out bad. I'll be able to sleep tonight. I might be tossing and turning, but I'll be okay."

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