Xander Schauffele showed Phil Mickelson what it was like to play elite golf

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DUBLIN, Ohio – Phil Mickelson credited a few casual rounds with Xander Schauffele for inspiring him to remain competitive on the PGA Tour and eventually win last month’s PGA Championship.

When asked about those rounds on Tuesday at the Memorial, Schauffele had a slightly different memory.

“I was playing really good golf. To be completely honest, Phil was playing probably some of the worst golf he’s played. Obviously the course being narrow and sort of strategic didn’t really fit his eye,” Schauffele said of his matches against Mickelson at The Farms in San Diego. “I took full advantage of him not playing well and me playing really well during that time stretch.”

Mickelson said Schauffele shot rounds of 64-63-62 during one stretch last year. “I saw what it looked like to play at the highest level,” Lefty said.

He is, however, still Phil Mickelson, and Schauffele said there was plenty of trash talking despite the wildly lopsided matches.

“[Mickelson] tried to quick trigger it. He pressed,” explained Schauffele after taking a commanding lead on the 15th hole of a match. “He kind of wasn’t supposed to hit first and of course he hits first and hits it to 4 feet.”

Schauffele answered with a 6-iron that found the bottom of the cup for a hole-in-one.

“There’s a little mound behind the tee box and [Mickelson] just sat there like this, looking down at the ground, shaking his head, he just didn’t really know what to do with himself,” Schauffele said. “I found that pretty entertaining.”