In the fall, rumors ran wild. Still, Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schavelli stood in the back, probably laughing as they watched the circus for a while. Or maybe they didn’t care at all.
The two friends from Southern California, who both came in the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking, are tucked up there in some corners of social media as the next high-profile PGA Tour players to move on to LIV Golf. One Twitter account in particular may have been responsible for the firing, posting on Nov. 16 that Schauffele’s move was a done deal, even naming which team he would lead.
Of course, if the rumors were true, the “get” would have been explosively disguised by LIV, considering the stature and skill of the two American superstars, who have accumulated 15 wins on the PGA Tour while becoming US team-play stalwarts.
Instead, Schauffele, 29, appeared on a podcast in mid-November and completely shut down the idea of bouncing back to LIV. And while Cantlay took an extended leave after the 2021-22 campaign, he returned on Tuesday before this week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions and said he had “no plans yet” to make the jump.
Both players entered this week’s TOC and the American Express tournament in La Quinta, California, in two weeks.
“I think it’s because I wasn’t honest one way or the other,” Cantlay, 30, said in Kapalua about why he believed he was the source of the rumours. So, I think that’s probably where it’s at. Guys, for the most part, seem to be very polarized on this issue, and I see it as a competition for top talent, like any other business.
“But I have no plans to do that as of now, which has been my, you know, basically my position since all this time.”
On the No Laying Up podcast in November, Schauffele said he couldn’t care less about the LIV rumors and had to Google them when his friends asked him about them.
“I just told everyone what I’m telling you: I didn’t talk to anyone,” Schavelli said. “I was pretty much thinking about my own business in Vegas, and then this whole thing just exploded.”
“I have no idea why and how it exploded… It’s probably similar to what happened the first time, just random rumors catching wind and blowing up in your face.”
Cantlay can be a different personality to try and conquer. At the Rocket Mortgage Classic in July, he said he didn’t “take in much outside noise” regarding LIV. Pressed, he admitted, “I don’t have any plans at the moment to leave [for LIV] After FedEx Cup [playoffs that August]. In September, before the Presidents Cup, Cantlay said he believed the contentious battle between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf would only be a “blip on the radar” in 10 years.
On Tuesday, Cantlay talked about how much LIV’s presence in golf has changed in one year — from exponentially increasing portfolios to what it might do for long-term fan interest.
“Everyone is trying to innovate and suddenly improve golf,” he said. “I think that would be of great benefit to the viewer because now more than ever I believe that competition makes people develop and makes them grow and think outside the box.
“So I think it was really good and it will be good for professional golf in the long run. But it was such a polarizing issue that it got people, you know, emotional about something that had been the same for a long time.”