Xander Schauffele, the automatic qualifier for the United States team at the 2023 Ryder Cup, was at risk of being removed from the squad in a contract dispute, according to his father. The golfer was seeking three amendments to the player participation and benefit agreement, but was threatened by the PGA of America to sign by the September deadline or be pulled from the team.
Stefan Schauffele, Xander’s father, recounted the incident to the Times of London, stating that the PGA of America refused to engage in discussions regarding the proposed amendments. He further claimed that the deadline had been moved, leaving them with limited time to negotiate, and that the PGA of America did not provide their legal counsel’s contact information.
With time running out, the head of the PGA of America intervened and put the Schauffeles in touch with the organization’s general counsel. Eventually, the matter was resolved, and Xander was reinstated to the team. Stefan Schauffele expressed his disappointment with the PGA of America’s handling of the situation, calling it “shameful.”
Xander Schauffele and the American team went on to lose to Team Europe in the Ryder Cup, continuing the US team’s road drought that dates back to 1993. Meanwhile, allegations surfaced about fractures within the US team, with Patrick Cantlay, one of the team leaders, allegedly advocating for compensation for players participating in the Ryder Cup. The players currently receive $200,000, which they can donate to a charity of their choice.
Cantlay denied the allegation, emphasizing that the Ryder Cup is about representing the country and not about financial gain. However, the incident added to the emotionally charged atmosphere of the competition, with spectators taunting Cantlay and US teammates playfully showing support by tipping their hats at him after winning matches.
One of the issues reportedly fueling the tension was a disagreement between Cantlay, Schauffele, and the PGA of America over allowing a Netflix documentary crew access to the team room during filming for the “Full Swing” series. The players wanted the player agreement amended to exclude the crew from the team room.
US captain Zach Johnson later revealed that the team voted unanimously to exclude cameras from the team room, citing the need to preserve its sanctity and sacredness.
Stefan Schauffele called for further discussions between the US players, the PGA of America, and Team Europe regarding the distribution of funds from the Ryder Cup. He criticized the lack of transparency and communication from the PGA of America, claiming that the American players’ intellectual property is being used for financial gain while they themselves receive no compensation.
Schauffele suggested that if all net proceeds from the Ryder Cup were donated to charitable causes, the issue would no longer be a point of contention. Currently, the American players are expected to donate their time without pay in the name of patriotism, while other organizations benefit financially.
The PGA of America utilizes the funds generated from the Ryder Cup, with a portion going toward the retirement of its members. Schauffele argued that this system is unfair, as the 12 players participating in the event have to bear the burden while their intellectual property is exploited for the benefit of others.
Despite the controversies surrounding the 2023 Ryder Cup, the event proved once again that Team Europe remains dominant, securing their eighth victory in the last 11 editions of the tournament. As discussions about player compensation and the distribution of funds continue, it remains to be seen how the future of the Ryder Cup will be shaped.