Xander Schauffele withdrew from the Sentry Tournament of Champions due to his ailing back.
He was 1-over through eight holes on Friday when he decided to listen to the advice of his caddie, Austin Kaiser.
“On 9, he’s like, ‘You know, we have a lot of tournaments coming up on the West Coast swing, and it’s a big swing for us,'” Schauffele said. “And he’s like, ‘Are you going to look back and feel like really proud of yourself for like gutting it out and maybe hurting yourself more or should we pull out and be smart here because we have a long way to go.’ So, it kind of went like that.”
Schauffele, 29, recorded an opening 3-under 70 despite laboring with a back injury he sustained during last month’s Hero World Challenge.
Ranked sixth in the world, Schauffele said he regretted not getting an MRI after the Hero World Challenge.
“I felt so great after (Hero),” he said. “I was back to full everything, routine after that. So that was probably a little immature on my part, to be completely honest. But yeah, I’m 29. I need to preserve my health. I feel like I’ve done a really good job up until this point.”
A seven-time PGA Tour winner, Schauffele won this event in Kapalua, Hawaii, in 2019.
–Field Level Media