Xander Schauffele will take part in the Farmers Insurance Open tournament


Prizes awarded to the Farmers Insurance Open champion include a cool Torrey Pine trophy, an even cooler check for $1.5 million, and a surfboard with a cool factor somewhere between a trophy and a check.

Xander Schauffele, born and raised in San Diego, is intimately familiar with the beach and waves here, though more so from the distant cliffs overlooking Torrey Pines State Beach.

When asked if he surfed, Schaffele replied: “I would like to.”

“I became a very good golfer later in my career here,” added the 29-year-old Scripps Ranch High School and San Diego State graduate, “and I think it’s because I didn’t surf early in my career. … Maybe when I stop playing golf so much, I’ll try surfing because I think I enjoy it.”

Don’t expect Schauffele to check surf reports in the near future.

He’s one of the favorites to stand on 18th Lawn – posing for photos with a surfboard as a champion farmer – on Saturday as the day turns into evening.

“Being here and getting it like a homemade prize and being able to put it in your car and drive away with it 20 minutes from my house would be amazing,” said Schauffele, a Las Vegas resident who recently bought a home in North America. District. “I’m not going to let my brain go too far at this point, but that’s obviously going to be just the icing on the cake.”

Sunshine is forecast this week at Torrey Pines for the tournament, which follows the Wednesday-Saturday schedule for the second year in a row.

Defending champion Luke List is among 156 players in the event, which will have a prize pool of approximately $8.7 million.

John Rahm, world No. 3, is the 4-to-1 favorite for the tournament.

Not surprising. This year, the Spaniard has won two starts in a row – The American Express last week and the season-opening Sentry Tournament of Champions.

A win over Torrey Pines would make Rahm the first golfer to win three starts in a row since Dustin Johnson five years ago.

Ram has two wins over Torrey Pines. He won the 2021 US Open here, four years after taking his first PGA Tour victory at Farmers 2017.

Ram said that the surfboard from that victory is up against the wall in his home office and is not going anywhere.

“I don’t think he will ever touch water,” Ram said. – No, it won’t.

Xander Schauffele will open the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open at 10 North Course tees in Torrey Pines.

(KC Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Back to Schauffel, who is in 6th place and finished two strokes behind Ram on Sunday at the American Express in La Quinta. He seems poised to challenge for the championship, where he has seen mixed results.

Last year, Schaffele finished 34th, eight strokes behind the winner. His best result in seven matches came in 2021 when Schauffele finished second.

The longstanding problem that caused Schauffele to pull out of the Tournament of Champions three weeks ago seems to be over.

“You start playing more golf, you start walking, you start swinging more, you get into a rut,” said Schauffele, who called the problem “muscular.”

“There was just a bottleneck. My team made the diagnosis very quickly, evaluated the scan and MRI, looked at it correctly.”

He was sure that no further thoughts about swing would arise when he found himself in Torrey’s (un)known fight.

“I’ve already taken my fair share of blows in the last two days, so I’m fine,” Schauffele said.

The tournament kicks off on North Course tee 10 for Schauffele, who is paired with JJ Spawn, another SDSU graduate, and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama in the first two rounds.

Golfers will play on both the north and south courses before the course is cleared for the final two rounds.

Schauffele and Spawn are among the few San Diegan players on the field, along with veteran Charlie Hoffman, El Cajon’s Joey Vrzic and senior USD player Harrison Kingsley.

Vrzic joined the PGA Tour Canada last summer after graduating from Pepperdine. He received a sponsorship exemption to make his first appearance on the PGA Tour.

Kingsley, one of three amateurs in the area, earned a spot in Monday’s qualifying tournament.

Locals have an added incentive to engrave their name along with six local Farmers winning golfers: Phil Mickelson (2001, 2000, 1993), Scott Simpson (1998), Craig Stadler (1994), Greg Twiggs (1989), Billy Kasper (1966) and Jean Littler (1954).

“It would be a huge honor,” Schauffele said. “It’s just cool. Everyone wants to win in their hometown.

“It makes it harder to win in your hometown. It’s just a fun challenge for us.”

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