"We Knew Tiger Was Fist Pumping From The Couch"

Xander Schauffele says he knew Woods was supporting Team USA from home

Xander Schauffele says he knew Woods was supporting Team USA from home

'We knew Tiger was fist pumping from the couch, he's as fired up as anyone back at home’

It’s at times like this that you have to remind yourself that Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay are Ryder Cup rookies.

The American pair won their first five holes in this competition, against none other than Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter before closing out a 5&3 victory and, very quickly, the United States look to have a formidable pairing for the foreseeable.

McIlroy and Poulter made some inroads into the deficit but Schauffele and Cantlay, who are close friends and play a lot of practice rounds with one another, stood firm with seven birdies in total, including four to finish, and we’ll be seeing more of them in the Saturday foursomes.

Related: "I don't know if anyone could have beat Xander and Patrick today" - McIlroy

“Making birdie on the 1st, dream start, and Xander hit a great shot in there and the way we won 2 was big for momentum and birdie 3, best start I could imagine, and Xander rolled in that putt on 5 and then we were rolling,” explained Cantlay.

Schauffele and Cantlay

"A start like that, I'm really glad we kept our nerve and kept our foot down."

Schauffele added that a few inspirational words from Tiger Woods played a big part in their outlook.

“We had a nice message from Tiger last night, and obviously I’m not going to reveal what it said, but Pat and I knew.

"We referred to it a few times a day, and we knew what we needed to do.

"We knew he was fist pumping from the couch.

"Whether he was on crutches or not, he's as fired up as any back at home. So it's nice to have his support.”

Cantlay added that he spent some time with the 15-time Major winner ahead of the matches.

“There’s no better role model and no better leader, and just somebody that you can always learn from.

"I saw him last week at home and just picked his brain on Ryder Cup and applied some of that here.”

Mark Townsend
Contributing editor

Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on skysports.com. He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.