KAWAGOE, Japan — No previous major victory experience was necessary to win a gold medal at the Olympics. American Xander Schauffele proved it all weekend.
Schauffele, 27, has finished in the top 10 at all four majors in his young career (with top three finishes in every event but the PGA Championship). Now he’s the second men’s golfer alive with a gold medal, five years after Justin Rose of Great Britain won it in 2016 at the Rio Games, where the sport returned to the Olympic program for the first time in more than a century.
The sport’s inclusion was predicated on the fact the best players in the world would participate. While the 60-man field for these Tokyo Olympics became diluted due to positive COVID-19 tests from top-10 players Bryson DeChambeau (United States) and Jon Rahm (Spain), several notable names vied for a medal.
And Schauffele stood on top at the end with a 4-under 67 in Sunday’s final round to finish 18-under-par for the tournament.