'Cheater': Golf star savages officials in British Open rules controversy

Xander Schauffele was still running hot on Saturday at the British Open, and it had nothing to do with a 69 that left him 11 shots out of the lead at Royal Portrush.

Schauffele accused the R&A of trying to ruin his image by not keeping private that his Callaway driver failed to conform to the limits of the trampoline effect.

He says one player jokingly referred to him as a cheater, and he claimed he was not the only player whose driver didn't pass in random testing this week.

“The R&A, they (ticked) me off because they attempted to ruin my image by not keeping this matter private,” Schauffele said.

“This is me coming out and treating them the exact way they treated me.”

Schauffele was among 30 players randomly selected to have his driver tested at Royal Portrush to make sure it conformed.

Xander Schauffele in action during the third round of the British Open. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Tiger Woods was on the list and gave a thumbs-up when asked if his driver passed the test.

Schauffele says he wasn't aware his driver didn't conform until notified. He worked into Tuesday evening to find a replacement, didn't feel he had the right club when he opened with a 74, made some adjustments and followed with a 65 on Friday.

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What bothered him was that the R&A didn't test the entire 156-man field - and that the matter wasn't kept private.

“Other drivers failed,” he said. “This matter should be private. But the R&A didn't do their job in keeping it private. ... It's an unsettling topic.

“I've been called a cheater by my fellow opponents. It's all joking, but when someone yells 'Cheater' in front of 200 people to me, it's not going down very well.”

A detail of the bag of Xander Schauffele. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

R&A responds to controversy

Schauffele brought up the failed test after he finished his second round on Friday, so it wasn't clear what the R&A said or did.

A spokesman for the R&A said in a statement: “We always listen to feedback from players and have done so in this situation. We will continue to treat this as a private and confidential matter.”

Schauffele says he was angered by an official who said to his father: “How's our testing going after Thursday?”

He said the ‘cheater' reference was from a player who had heard about the failed test and was playfully giving him a hard time.

Schauffele didn't find any of it funny.

“Everyone on the grounds knew for some odd reason,” he said.

“So that's enough to throw me off my game. It was just handled unprofessionally. And it did tick me off.”