Olympics: Xander Schauffele wins gold for the USA

Xander Schauffele

Xander Schauffele is the new men's Olympic golf champion. 

The 27-year-old world No.5 closed with a three-under 68 to win the gold medal by a shot from Rory Sabbatini, the South Africa-born Slovakian, who surged through the field with a stunning final round of 61.

CT Pan emerged from a seven-man sudden-death playoff to claim bronze. He secured the eighth medal of Tokyo 2021 for Chinese-Taipei, denying Open champion Collin Morikawa at the fourth extra hole after Rory McIlroy, Paul Casey, Sebastian Munoz, Mito Perreira and Hideki Matsuyama had been eliminated.

• American Golf to design Open-inspired apparel

• PGA Tour caddie blasts athletes taking the knee

But the day belonged to Schauffele.

At the start of the week, he explained why winning gold would mean so much to him. Back in the late 1980s, his father, Stefan, was an aspiring Olympic decathlete and was on his way to trials for the German team when his car was struck by a drunk driver. He suffered a number of injuries, that included the loss of sight in his left eye, stopping his Olympic dreams in their tracks.

After sealing an emotional victory, Schauffele Jnr called the win the biggest moment of his career to date.

"It's special," he admitted. "I mean it's so different for us, we're used to playing for money and we play a normal schedule and this is every four years and it's just kind of a different feel to it.

"And you're wearing your country's colours and everyone's just trying to represent to the best of their ability. So it does have that sort of special and different feel."

For Sabbatini, meantime, a silver medal that looked unlikely at the start of the day was his reward for switching his nationality in pursuit of an Olympic dream. 

Early in 2019, the South Africa-born six-time PGA Tour changed allegiances from the country of his birth to his wife's home nation. 

• High-profile European Tour event cancelled

"We started this journey, four, five years ago, getting naturalised in Slovakia and designating them as my representation," said the 45-year-old, whose final round of 61 enters the record books as the lowest round in Olympic history. "The sole purpose of it was to generate future generations of Slovak golfers. 

"It's not exactly the prime sport for kids to grow up want to go play in Slovakia, so hopefully we can inspire future Olympians and future professionals."

Share this Article

share-logo
twitter-logo facebook-logo

Latest Videos See all videos right arrow

play button
2022 Driver Test | Which one is going in my bag?
Drivers
play button
The most powerful PING irons ever? | PING i525 review
Ping
play button
I'll be using the Vokey SM9 wedges... and you should too
Titleist
play button
The driver that has it all? | COBRA LTDx drivers REVIEWED!
Cobra
See all videos right arrow

Golf News

The ultimate European Ryder Cup team
LPGA star “considered crashing car” due to stress
Bryson DeChambeau “close” to tournament return
Amateur shoots 134 in disastrous qualifying round
"Daftys”: Robert MacIntyre hits back at US PGA critics

Other Top Stories

Tiger Woods: Inside his $41million Florida mansion
The very best pubs in St Andrews
The Scottish Golf Course Emoji Quiz!
24 lies every bad golfer tells
Doug Sanders: The extraordinary life of golf's original playboy

Quick Fault 'n' Fixes See all videos right arrow

play button
Denis Pugh’s stepping-stone to better golf
Watch
play button
How to keep your swing on plane
Callaway
play button
Increase your stability for more consistency
Watch
play button
Swing through the ball to hit a fade
Callaway
See all videos right arrow