Member blog: A pro-am pairing and a Schauffele win
Xander Schauffele with Ben Whipple (right) and wife Bennie (Photo submitted)
By Ben Whipple
Schauffele sighting! AmateurGolf.com member Ben Whipple started the year in Hawaii with the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions. When we caught wind that Whipple hadn’t just been on site but inside the ropes, we had to know more. And so, a first-person look at Whipple’s unique experience beside Xander Schauffele, the now four-time PGA Tour winner:
I had signed up for the early-week pro-am for the Tour’s Tournament of Champions in Maui as a bucket-list item. I have never played in a pro-am before, so I figured Hawaii was as good a place as any to try it. Who doesn't love Hawaii?
A drawing party takes place the night before the pro-am, and with an interesting format. Two other pro-am participants (guys who I did not know) and I had to figure out which pro we wanted to play with. We had pick No. 13, and most of my top-10 guys were already chosen by the time our number was called.
We were also on the clock once it was our turn, and had 30 seconds to choose a player. One of the other guys wanted Webb Simpson – and he would have been a great pick – but I wanted one of the young guns. Xander Schaufele was still available, and the other guys didn't need much convincing. We selected Xander.
As it turn out, he was the perfect pick. Not only was he a blast to play with, but he eventually won the tournament. (I am positive it was because he played with me in the pro-am and learned so much.)
Xander shot 72-67-68-62 for a 23-under total and a one-shot win. As an additional perk, I got to take a picture with Xander on the 18th green holding the champion’s trophy. My only comment to him was that if he had only played this well during the pro-am, we would have won that, too!