Xander Schauffele wasn't supposed to be in the 2022 Sentry Tournament of Champions field. He didn't win an official PGA Tour event offering FedEx Cup points or the FedEx Cup itself, and that's how you earn your way into the winners-only field.
However, Schauffele did win the men's Olympic golf tournament during the COVID-19-delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics. And an Olympic gold medal is a big deal, no matter the sport.
Schauffele wasn't about to ask the Tour for a special slot into the Sentry Tournament of Champions and a ticket to Kapalua, but his peers did.
"I feel extra fortunate this year," he said Tuesday in Hawaii. "The Olympics wasn't on the list (of qualifying tournaments), and the Tour was nice enough to sort of put it on the list with the help of some players lobbying for me.
"So it's nice they recognize the Olympic gold medal as a winner and here I am. So excited to be back."
The men's Olympic golf tournament was considered part of the 2020-2021 PGA Tour schedule, but it wasn't considered an approved event for the purposes of the Sentry Tournament of Champions. However, Schauffele earned 50 Official World Golf Rankings points for winning the event in Japan, which was as much as or more than the first-place points offered at 23 PGA Tour events in calendar 2021.
It only made sense for Schauffele to be at Kapalua.
"It's always nice to come back," he said. "It means that you won a tournament."