Xander Schauffele has swung his golf club countless times, but it was a rarely practiced shot that proved pivotal. Throughout his career, Schauffele often found himself nearly grasping victory, notably as a runner-up in major tournaments such as the Masters and the Open. He even secured a gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but the elusive major golf title remained out of reach, branding him as one of the “best never to win a major.”

The defining moment came at the PGA Championship, with Schauffele and Bryson DeChambeau both tied at -20. Standing in the bunker of the 18th hole, Schauffele faced a critical shot that could lead to either a playoff or his first major championship. With precise focus, he managed to land near the green and then executed a flawless chip and putt sequence, culminating in a six-foot putt that would decide his fate. “I don’t really remember it lipping in,” Schauffele recalled. “I just heard everyone roaring and I just looked up to the sky in relief.”

This shot not only clinched the PGA Championship for Schauffele but also recorded the lowest score to par ever in a major, at minus-21. Reflecting on his journey, he acknowledged the ongoing challenge of reaching the heights of his contemporaries, particularly Scottie Scheffler, yet relished the victory that elevated his career to new heights.

DeChambeau, who had finished his round earlier, awaited a potential playoff while practicing. Upon witnessing Schauffele’s victorious putt, DeChambeau joined the crowd in congratulating him, a moment that underscored both competition and camaraderie on the golf course. Later, DeChambeau reflected on his performance and the positive momentum he gained for future tournaments.

For Schauffele, this victory was more than just a title; it was a breakthrough from the persistent “nearly-man” narrative, captured beautifully as he celebrated with PGA officials under the setting sun.



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