Fortuitous Xander Schauffele incident leaves golf fans livid

Golf fans are not happy with Xander Schauffele after latest 'lucky' break.
Xander Schauffele - Wells Fargo Championship
Xander Schauffele - Wells Fargo Championship / Andrew Redington/GettyImages

Xander Schauffele is in contention once again at the Wells Fargo Championship and golf fans are not happy about it. In the final tune-up before the year's second major championship next week, Xander got off to the perfect start during the first round of the PGA Tour's latest signature event.

Schauffele opened his week at the famous Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, with a fantastic 7-under 63 which gave the 30-year-old the early lead at a tournament that he finished runner-up in last year.

The Tokyo Olympics gold medalist came close to winning his first event since the 2022 Genesis Scottish Open at Quail Hollow last year despite finishing a distant second to eventual winner Wyndham Clark at the 2023 Wells Fargo Championship. While the wait for another win on tour is approaching the two-year mark, Xander has continued to perform at an exceptionally high level with a multitude of Top 10 finishes over the past couple of seasons.

Even though Schauffele has once again put himself in a fantastic position to contend following a terrific round, his day was not without controversy, and some golf fans were not at all happy with him on Thursday.

Xander Schauffele evokes the wrath of golf fans after controversial incident

Things were going swimmingly for Xander Schauffele during the first round of this year's Wells Fargo Championship until he set foot in the tee box on the 8th at Quail Hollow, the penultimate hole of his opening round.

Schauffele smashed his drive off the 8th tee and looked on as his golf ball sailed wide right of its intended target. With his ball somewhere amongst the trees, getting up and down for par seemed increasingly unlikely. That's when he decided to call for a rules official who would eventually award him an extremely fortunate drop on account of line of sight from a Shotlink tower.

Safe to say the decision didn't sit well with some fans who were quick to vent their frustrations following the incident.

"Yeah, I hit it in the trees. My ball was probably like a foot, two feet from the fence. If I -- ball was here, fence was kind of here, hitting back this direction. If I went towards the green, the fence kind of worked this way so I had what I could hit, a 4-iron or something low and just kind of run it through. If it gets stuck, I'll just kind of hit my next one out," Schauffele recalled afterward explaining the situation.

"But I brought the rules official in there with me because I was like, you've got to be OK with this because this is literally the only shot I can hit. So Austin and I moved two massive rocks that weren't embedded and then I got relief out of the junk and then hit a pretty good shot on the green from there. What was a very stressful moment turned into a pretty stressless par."

The fortunate ruling allowed Xander to save his par on the 8th and he would go on to birdie his final hole of the day. Schauffele later expressed how he got 'real lucky' a couple of times. That's sure to go over well with the already infuriated fans.

"Got really lucky multiple times, on 1 with Wyndham finding it, 2, being able to move the
rocks, and 3, the Shotlink tower being in like my only shot line possible. To walk out there
with sort of a no breeze 4 with what I thought was almost out was a really good break. "

light. Next. Wells Fargo Championship Power Rankings. Wells Fargo Championship Power Rankings

Xander will attempt to turn the page and finish out his week without any more controversial moments as he aims to get across the line for the first time since July 2022. Some golf fans may be less willing to put the contentious moment to bed so quickly.