Xander Schuaffele with former Greyhound Austin Kaiser, 5th at US Open
–Another Top-5 finish, but still no major tournament win for the 26-year-old professional golfer Xander Schauffele and his caddie, former Greyhound Austin Kaiser. In the US Open Sunday at Winged Foot Golf Club in Westchester County, New York, Schauffele was in third place Sunday, only a few strokes behind the leader when gusty winds stifled the play of all but one player, Bryson DeChambeau. DeChambeau won by six strokes with the only sub-par final round of the day.
While Schauffele and Kaiser teed off at the US Open at Winged Foot, Austin’s mom, Popi Kaiser, baked goods at a Paso Robles grocery store. After work, she rushed home in hopes of seeing Schauffele win his first major. It didn’t happen, Sunday, but he got close.
Austin Kaiser grew up in North County. He spent a lot of his youth at Chalk Mountain Golf Course in Atascadero. Kaiser played on golf teams at Atascadero High School and Hancock College in Santa Maria. He and Schauffele became friends while playing on the golf team at San Diego State University. When Schauffele became serious about playing professionally, he asked Kaiser to be his caddie. Kaiser has always approached the game intelligently. He relies heavily on statistics and planning. He also works to keep Schauffele focused and relaxed during the stress of tournament play. It’s been a very successful partnership. Although Schauffele finished 5th Sunday, he won $484,896.
Schauffele has been close to winning several majors. Last year, he finished in a tie for 3rd at the US Open at Pebble Beach. At the 2019 Masters, he tied Dustin Johnson for second place, one stroke behind winner Tiger Woods. After that tournament, he told the media, “I can win on this course.” Sunday was Schauffele’s fourth top-five finish in nine starts at major championships. He’s only 26-years-old, so he’ll likely get more chances. The next major is The Masters, which will be played November 12th-15th at Augusta National in Georgia. It’s generally played the second week of April. It was postponed because of COVID-19.
Because of the Coronavirus, fans were not allowed on the course during the tournament. Schauffele said it was eerie playing without fans. “(Saturday), I made a 20-yard putt on the 8th, and then eagled the 9th, and I was sitting there- it was just awkward…I mean, you hear crickets chirping. It was kind of lonely out there.”
Kaiser’s parents, Bob and Popi Kaiser live in San Miguel.