Report: Xander Schauffele almost lost Ryder Cup spot, according to father
Patrick Cantlay may have taken the brunt of criticism during Ryder Cup week, but it was Cantlay’s teammate, Xander Schauffele, who reportedly was nearly kicked off the U.S. team before the matches even began.
A report on Monday by The Times, based in London, quotes Schauffele’s father, Stefan, who claims the PGA of America threatened to remove his son from the 12-man American squad if he did not sign a player participation and benefits agreement, to which the Schauffeles wanted to discuss amendments.
“The PGA of America were not willing to even talk to us about [the amendments],” Stefan Schauffele told The Times. “It was very late in the schedule, right before the team came here [to Rome] to practice because they had moved the deadline and they said, ‘If you don’t sign it by then, you’re off the team’, but they never gave us the contact information of their legal counsel.”
Stefan Schauffele said that Schauffele’s lawyers were finally put in contact with the PGA’s general counsel on Sept. 2.
“It took a few hours to hash it out and it was fine,” Stefan Schauffele added. “Then I received a message that Xander was back on the team. That you can quote. That’s the extent of this and I think it’s shameful.”
“As always, we are not going to comment on private conversations with our Ryder Cup Team Members,” the PGA of America said in a statement to GolfChannel.com.
The Times details that both Xander Schauffele and Cantlay wanted to make changes to the agreement, which The Associated Press reported last month was sent to players in July, with those alterations including denying Netflix cameras from being in the U.S. team room.
“Apart from the fact the guys don’t get paid, you cannot make a deal with a third party that we are not party to for rights into eternity,” Stefan Schauffele told The AP in a Sept. 13 report.
The AP also reported that Xander Schauffele signed the agreement and that U.S. captain Zach Johnson had held a player vote on whether to allow Netflix, which is working on a second season of its “Full Swing” doc, into the team room. The U.S. players voted in favor of limiting the streaming service’s access.
“Netflix is going to be there,” said Seth Waugh, CEO of the PGA of America, told The AP. “I would say all things involving the team we leave to the team and the captain. I think there’s a sanctity to the team room, and the experience is important to them. It’s part of being a team, right? Netflix has been great for the game. They’re doing great things. The team collectively decided there are areas of privacy that need to be respected.”
Last Friday at Marco Simone, Sky Sports reported that Cantlay was causing “fracture” within the U.S. team by, among other things, refusing to wear a hat in protest for his belief that Ryder Cuppers should be financially compensated for competing. Cantlay and other members of the U.S. team denied this, with Cantlay saying to NBC Sports, “It’s totally false. It couldn’t be further from the truth. There hasn’t been one word of that all week. The U.S. team has been close all week.”
However, Cantlay never specifically addressed last week whether he thinks players should be paid for playing a Ryder Cup. “I feel like I’ve answered so many questions about it,” he told reporters on Sunday.
U.S. players currently do not receive financial compensation to compete, but do get a $200,000 stipend to donate to a charity of their choice.
Johnson called the Sky Sports report “extremely poor journalism” – other outlets had reported similar news – before saying that he doesn’t think there should be direct compensation for being a Ryder Cupper.
“When it comes to the dollar sign, I don’t mean to sound cliché, but the Ryder Cup is about more than any of that,” Johnson said Saturday night. “It’s about standing with a band of guys to represent your nation, to represent more than you in the game of golf. It’s a sport for one week.
“And you know what, I would say if there’s anything that deals with money, there’s guys that would pay to play in this.”
Stefan Schauffele, though, didn’t mind sharing his opinion with a few outlets, including No Laying Up, on Sunday morning.
“If the PGA of America is a for-profit organization, they need to have the players share in that profit instead of being so damned intransparent about it with intent,” Stefan Schauffele said. “They should reveal the numbers, and then we should go to the table and talk. Alternatively, they can donate all proceeds after opening the books to a charity of our joint choice, and then we will happily play for free.
“Please print that.”