Jordan Spieth on how Xander Schauffele 'quietly' picked up speed in becoming a major champ

Jordan Spieth on how Xander Schauffele 'quietly' picked up speed in becoming a major champ

Like the rest of his peers, Jordan Spieth wasn’t surprised that Xander Schauffele broke through for his first major title at the PGA Championship.

The quality of Schauffele's record speaks for itself.

But Spieth said Wednesday at the Charles Schwab Challenge that there was one aspect of Schauffele’s improvement that has largely gone unnoticed – but, clearly, paid off in a big way.

“He’s looked to add speed,” Spieth said, “but did it very methodically, very quietly, very in the dark.

“It’s been amazing watching him go after the tournament rounds – like on Thursday, Friday, Saturday – and he’ll go to the workout trailer and hit a heavy gym session after the round. It’s not common out here. There’s a few guys that will do it, but it’s still not common. Everybody goes before now; 10, 12 years ago, half the field went before, now everyone does.

“But he’s going after and hitting these heavy workouts with a goal in mind that he thought would gain a slight advantage. He already had a lot of speed, and he did it while maintaining his consistency and his short game, and it just allowed him to hit shorter clubs into greens, which, maybe over the course of four rounds, being a shot or two. The way he approached that patiently is extremely inspiring.”

Spieth’s analysis was spot-on: Schauffele’s ball speed with a driver is now ranked inside the top 10 on Tour, averaging 183.4 mph. That’s nearly five mph faster than last year, before he began working with swing coach Chris Como.

Schauffele just polished off a week in which he led wire to wire and set the all-time major scoring record to par at 21 under, holding off Bryson DeChambeau by a shot. It was a sweet victory at Valhalla for Schauffele, who hadn’t won since July 2022 and was 2-for-8 with a 54-hole lead. He also had previously posted six top-5s finishes (and 12 top-10s) in majors without a victory.

“If you asked me, is there any doubt in your mind that he would win major championships – I don’t know a weakness in his game, so it’s just a matter of time, so it’s not surprising at all,” Spieth said.

That brought to mind another aspect of Schauffele’s game and demeanor that he appreciated: his patience.

“I’m not a very patient person, and I think that’s gotten me in trouble in a lot of times in my career, as far as the process,” Spieth said. “Trusting the process and giving it time and not having to have results right away. He didn’t seem bothered by close calls. He had to answer a lot of questions regarding Sundays, and I remember having those for a year or two as well. I was more patient back then because I was playing consistently better, so it was easier to be more patient.

"Once it goes your way, then you start thinking they’re all going to go your way, and then they do. So I wouldn’t be surprised if this is just the beginning.”