MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Xander Schauffele had hoped to stay up Friday night and watch another American win an Olympic gold medal in golf.
But due to his struggles with bouncing back from earning his own gold in Japan last week — and the resulting early tee time Saturday morning at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational — Schauffele made it to only the 13th hole as Nelly Korda played the back nine on the same course where he had won Sunday.
He missed quite a bit of drama, but Schauffele might be excused if he just couldn’t muster up the strength to stay awake for Korda’s 1-shot victory.
“For me, I guess I didn’t realize how much it took out of me,” Schauffele said after a third-round 70 that saw him tee off at 7:45 a.m. local time and finish well before the leaders were on the course. “Anytime you’re in the hunt or near the lead it takes a little bit more out of you than you think.
“Just dealing with it, I’m glad I’m on schedule now. I want to be good to go for the [FedEx Cup] playoffs.”
Schauffele, 27, will have only a week off before the three-way playoff run begins at Liberty National on Aug. 19.
Before then, he expects to revel in his Olympics victory, celebrating with friends, family and supporters at his home in San Diego. Schauffele said that he does not know Korda personally but that his housemates this week — Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth — know the sisters. Thomas lives near them in South Florida.
“Obviously she’s on an unbelievable run, No. 1 in the world going in and winning gold in the Olympics; kind of how you want it to be, right?” Spieth said after shooting 63 on Saturday. “Best player wins.
“Xander obviously having the gold medal at the house is pretty cool. It’s been fun. He’s so humble. Like if it were me or Justin to the other, we would just be wearing it at dinner, we wouldn’t take it off. Justin had to make him go upstairs and get it when I got here to show me. And it was super cool.”
Schauffele said he has felt good this week, as he got to work with a trainer, which he could not do in Japan. It’s simply the 14-hour time change and the feeling that you are teeing off in the middle of the night that eventually catches up with you, especially in Memphis, where he was faced with more hot and humid conditions.
“It’s kind of the more difficult way to travel, too, for jet lag,” Spieth said. “So I know he’s just kind of been a little bit off this week from last week, but clearly understood. [It] hasn’t affected his mood at all.”
Schauffele said he noticed the trampoline near the 18th hole with a congratulatory message scrawled in chalk. On the first day of the tournament, he received a standing ovation walking to the 14th green.
“I thought, this is new,” he said. “It makes me realize just how much it means to people.”