Xander Schauffele says he is “still chasing a win this season” as he attempts to brush off his Ryder Cup disappointment at this week’s Zozo Championship in Japan.
The Tokyo Olympics gold medallist is back in action for the first time since being part of the American team that failed to retain the Ryder Cup following a miserable start in Rome last month.
Schauffele’s American teammates Collin Morikawa and Rickie Fowler are also among the field at the PGA Tour event at Narashino Country Club.
Defending champion Keegan Bradley and 2021 winner Hideki Matsuyama return for the 78-man, no-cut event.
Schauffele said he “had a lot of fun despite losing” at the Ryder Cup and turned his attention towards trying to win his first title since July last year.
“I played OK at the Ryder Cup, not great,” said Schauffele, ranked No 6 in the world. “I stayed in Italy for about five more nights so I had a quick turnaround in Nevada before I came here, but my game’s going pretty good.”
The Americans were expected to put up a fierce fight in their bid to win the Ryder Cup on European soil for the first time since 1993. But Europe swept the opening session for the first time on Friday and never looked back.
Schauffele said the United States were “able to make it somewhat interesting” on the final day but admitted they fell far short of expectations.
“It felt like the tournament slipped away really early on,” he said. “Myself and the rest of the other guys wish we could have settled the ship earlier on, just to make it feel like we weren’t coming from behind the whole time.”
Morikawa is also looking to bounce back in his first tournament since the Ryder Cup.
The 26-year-old has not won a title on the PGA Tour since 2021, but insisted that “nothing is carried over” from the defeat in Rome.
“I’m not going to use momentum from a loss but I can learn from a loss, and take that into whether it’s this week or next week or whenever it may be,” he said. “There’s no lingering anger from losing at a Ryder Cup coming into a week like this – they’re two different things.”
The $8.5-million Zozo Championship was established in 2019 as the first PGA Tour tournament in Japan.
Thousands of Japanese fans turned up to watch Tiger Woods win the inaugural title for his 82nd PGA Tour victory – equalling Sam Snead’s 54-year-old record.
Bradley nailed a 15-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole to pull away from Fowler and Andrew Putnam and win last year’s title.
Fowler went on to snap a four-year title drought in July this year and he said his runner-up finish in Japan helped “build some confidence and momentum”.
“Coming off of that, knowing that I can play well here and looking to forward to continuing that, and hopefully go one better than last year,” he said.
© Agence France-Presse
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