There’s little doubt that Adam Hadwin can almost taste the fruits of his labour this year, but the key word in that statement is “almost,” so there no point in savoring something that has yet to be served.
As it stands right now, Hadwin does have status on the PGA Tour next year after finishing in the top 25 on the money list during the Web .com Tour regular season, which ended with him tying for second in Portland a couple of weeks ago.
After he and Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., earned status following the Portland event, I chatted with Hadwin for this story and he stressed the importance of carrying the momentum into the Web .com Finals, where he would try to improve his position in order to get more starts once he got to the PGA Tour.
That didn’t start out too well as Hadwin missed the cut at the Hotel Fitness Championship, the first of four events in the Web .com Finals, but he turned around and won the Chiquita Classic on the weekend, something even Gary Player noticed.
As it stands now, Hadwin is in position to not only get more starts, but to entirely avoid reshuffles next year and play in the Players Championship. You can read more here.
However, you can pull up to the dinner table, but that doesn’t mean grandma is going to serve the chicken until it’s ready and Hadwin has no plans to start licking his chops over the treats he can attain in the next few weeks.
He’s still got this week’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship and the Web .com Tour Championship ahead of him, so, it’s still business as usual, just as it was a couple of weeks ago, when catching money leader Carlos Ortiz on the overall money list seemed next to impossible.
After his second victory of the season, it’s now possible, but even so, it’s not something Hadwin wants to dwell on.
“Carlos was quite a way ahead. It didn’t even seem attainable at that time. There was always winning the Finals money list, but I’m not going to try not to think about it,” said Hadwin.
“I’m just going to enjoy this victory for a couple of days, but it would be a nice little bonus not to have to worry about reshuffles coming into next year, to not have to worry about a schedule and getting off to such a good start early in the year to guarantee playing time,” he said.
“Obviously, the Players, being part of that field, would be pretty special too, but I’m just going to play golf, continue to try to have some fun and just hit golf shots and trust what I’m doing and trust the fact that my game’s good right now and just go out there and enjoy myself,” added Hadwin.
So, nothing was going to change, including a promise he made to his alma mater, the University of Louisville, to take part in a fundraiser on Monday.
“I wasn’t going to go back on my word just because of what happened (Sunday),” he said.
“I’m going to approach the last two (Web .com Finals tournaments) the exact same way that I approached the first two, sort of like no pressure, go out and have some fun and enjoy what I’m doing and let the chips fall where they may, just hit some shots and try to make a few putts,” he said.
“I just wanted to secure the high place. I could look at it that I’m real close to securing a No. 1 spot and guaranteeing full status and getting into the Players and stuff. Yeah, that’s obviously on my mind, but I’ve just got to go out and take care of the golf first,” added Hadwin.
“I can’t control what anybody else does. I’ve been playing such great golf lately and it’s been a lot of fun on the golf course, hitting shots when I need to hit shots and making some putts when I need to. I’m just going to try and continue to do that,” he said.
“I’ve got two more good golf courses left that I think suit my game really well, so just go out and try to have some fun,” he said.
It’s easy to see why he’s having fun, if you go back a year or so when Hadwin missed the cut in 10 of 21 Web .com Tour events and had just a couple of top 10 finishes to place 66th on the money list. By comparison, he missed just five cuts in 19 tournaments and had seven top 10s this year.
“It’s amazing, the difference a year makes. Last year, I struggled. It was a mental meltdown. I got frustrated way too easily and looking back on it now, clearly I didn’t trust where my game was at. I was afraid of the outcome,” said Hadwin.
“It’s been great this year. All the hard work in the off-season and the mental approach, it’s just really exciting to see that hard work pay off,” he said.
“It’s a testament to my team and everybody that I’ve got around me and all the hard work that’s been put in prior to these events,” he said.
“I’ve felt such a calm on the golf course recently – having such trust in my golf game and not getting too high or too low and taking whatever the golf course gives me and knowing that bad shots are going to come, but I can recover and taking advantage of the good ones,” he said.
“The last two or three weeks have been pretty special – two final groups in three weeks and a win and a second. It doesn’t get much better than this,” he said.
Actually, it could get much better if Hadwin is able to turn in solid finishes in each of the next two tournaments, but the point is that he has momentum going for him, along with the benefit of a new experience.
Never before did he have a two-shot lead going into the final few holes as he did at the Chiquita and, despite some noise from runner-up John Peterson that he might make a go of it, Hadwin was equal to the task and closed the door each time.
“You learn from every round and every experience,” said Hadwin.
“Those experiences are going to help me grow. Being in the situation, coming down the stretch, having a chance to win, it’s all exciting stuff. It’s all a lot of fun to be in that position,” he said.
So, Hadwin is willing to enjoy the journey instead of concerning himself with the destination. There’s bound to a bit of a rough patch waiting for him here and there over the next couple of weeks such as the missed cut in the first Web .com Finals event, but he’s so far been able to handle those.
There’s no rocket science in what he needs to do because he’s already been doing it and as a result, dinner will be served in a couple of weeks and he’s already invited. The only question now is how big a portion he’ll get once he gets to the table.