The FedEx Cup competition is a wrap, and it was arguably the best one to date, giving us a roller coaster finish at the Tour Championship, and an unlikely champion in Xander Schauffele, who is better than you think.
The FedEx Cup Playoffs are finished and the “youth movement” came out on top yet again. Justin Thomas would win the FedEx Cup after having a remarkable year, but it was Xander Schauffele who made his own mark at East Lake, winning the TOUR Championship in his rookie year.
He also is a lock for the Player of the Year award now as well. Despite Thomas grabbing one of the great trophies in golf, it was Xander Schauffele who shined the brightest at East Lake on Sunday. In doing so, he grabbed the super dope Calamity Jane putter trophy.
After making a charge up the leaderboard all weekend, he slammed the door shut on Sunday in Atlanta for his second PGA Tour win. He left himself with a short birdie putt to win it, and the ball nearly rolled out as it curled around the cup. As it dropped, a sigh of relief came out of the 23-year-old as his fairy tale season finishes on a high note.
Oh, did I mention he’s a rookie? Jon Rahm has grabbed most of the rookie/sophomore player spotlight this year, but Schauffele came out of nowhere to put together a terrific rookie year.
This includes two PGA Tour wins and two top-five finishes including fifth place at the U.S. Open at Erin Hills. With the two victories, he has more wins than Rahm and may be a threat to capture the Rookie of the Year award.
However, Rahm still stood out, after a great year that included 11 top 10 finishes including a win at the Farmers Insurance Open. This doesn’t take away from the amazing, yet quiet season that Shauffele had.
Not only did he have a dynamite rookie campaign with the wins, he performed very well while doing so. He ranks in the top 50 in the world in three of golf’s most critical categories: driving, ball striking and putting.
This makes him an all-around threat. Another impressive statistic that stands out is his ability to nail medium length putts. He ranks second in the world in putting from 10 feet.
His most notable skill, however, is his ability to drive the golf ball. He is 16th in the world in driving distance. And in a sport where most professionals are blasting it a mile, that says a lot.
His power was on display on Sunday as he nearly reached the green in two on East Lake’s iconic 18th hole from the rough. A putt from off the green got him close enough to the cup to sink the winning birdie.
The crazy thing is that Schauffele was 152nd in the FedEx Cup standings back in April. He ended up finishing third at season’s end. Talk about a charge up the mountain of golfing success.
Although the game is filled with young superstars, the tale of Schauffele stands out above the rest of the competition. Most of today’s young talent had the potential and were expected to be good.
In Schauffele’s case, nobody had a clue who he was. Even after winning the Greenbrier Classic, he was still kind of in the abyss of the unknown. This in part, was due to the fact both Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth had amazing seasons.
Not only that, the aforementioned Rahm had one of the best rookie seasons in recent memory. All of this combined with some rekindled veterans like Paul Casey and Charley Hoffman and you end up in a tough position to make the spotlight.
Xander Schauffele is a name to start getting used to. And on Sunday at East Lake, there’s no doubt that another star was born.
What are your thoughts on Schauffele’s performance? Let us know in the comments section or you can let me know on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio.