'Sore' Xander Schauffele ready to go at American Express

Xander Schauffele is scheduled to play four of the next five weeks even though he admitted Wednesday that his back is still not 100% healthy.

Schauffele pulled out of the opening event of the year, the Sentry Tournament of Champions, with a back injury. An MRI exam last week at home revealed no structural damage, and so after “a lot of work done on it,” he said he’s ready to compete at The American Express.

“It’s a little sore,” Schauffele told reporters Wednesday at PGA West. “Trying to be as patient as possible, to take things as slow as possible in terms of getting too many reps in and I guess being stupid in that sense. But I’m known to try to practice too much at times. I’m trying to take this one slow, so I don’t hurt it again or do something of that nature.

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“I feel good. Obviously, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t feel solid. Looking forward to the week.”

This is the beginning of a busy stretch for Schauffele, who will play this week in the California desert before heading to San Diego for the Farmers Insurance Open. After a week off, he’ll play consecutive designated events, the Phoenix Open and Genesis Invitational.

The early exit from Kapalua – a no-cut, limited-field event with a $15 million purse – left Schauffele feeling like he needed to play catch-up after logging just a single Tour start last fall. He’s optimistic, with the right approach, that he can get through this stretch without another injury setback.

“It’s just a little sore,” he said. “I did nothing [last week] and I had a lot of work done on it. So it’s a little sore. I’ve gotten in probably more swings than I wanted to these last three days. So just more work to be done on it. I’ve got to be a little bit more patient in my return.”