His play of late has Adam Hadwin in the mix for the web.com Tour playoffs, but when he received an invite to this week’s RBC Canadian Open, the decision was an easy one for the Abbotsford golfer.
“For me, the opportunity to play on the PGA Tour, in front of our country and the hometown fans, well, the PGA Tour is where I want to be.
“So every opportunity I get to play an event, I will take it and enjoy the (experience),” he said, in an exclusive interview with the Times on Wednesday.
Hadwin is one of 16 Canadians in the field this week at Glen Abbey.
As the only PGA tour stop in Canada, it consistently boasts the largest Canadian content of any field in the PGA season. That said, it’s been 59 years since a Canadian last won the Open. Pat Fletcher won the tournament at Point Grey Golf & Country Club in Vancouver in 1954.
While the likes of Americans Jim Furyk and Bubba Watson, South African Ernie Els and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell – all of whom have won majors – have already committed to play in the Canadian Open, this could be the strongest Canadian field ever entered into the tournament, and not solely based on numbers.
Canadian golfers are turning heads on tour as of late, and there are some legitimate Canadian contenders this week. Graeme Delaet came into last week’s (British) Open Championship in Dullane, Scotland, 28th on the PGA money list, with in excess of $1.5 million in earnings already this year.
David Hearn is 63rd overall, and surpassed the $1 million mark in earnings for the season two Sundays ago at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill.
Hearn picked up a cheque for $404, 800, after losing in a playoff to 19-year-old Jordan Spieth.
“I have said it for a couple of years now – we have a great depth of talent (in Canada),” said Hadwin. “It’s just going to take some time for them to get used to everything.
“Graeme, for a time, was the only one contending on the PGA Tour and now we have (Hearn), who lost in a playoff last week – a playoff he probably should have won – so I am sure he is a little bit disappointed. But that was his best finish on tour.
“We have Riley (23-year-old Riley Wheeldon from Comox, B.C.) winning the PGA Tour Canada event (in Fort McMurray, Alta.), the first Canadian to do so this year.
“I have been playing well the past couple of weeks – it just seems that everybody is starting to play better and I wouldn’t be surprised if you see one of us contend at the Canadian Open this year.”
Few people would be surprised if it was Hadwin who ends up carrying the hopes of the nation in his golf bag this weekend, based on his previous successes at the tournament.
Hadwin has been the top Canadian at the tournament twice, finishing in a tie for fourth overall in 2011 at Shaughnessy in Vancouver, one year after finishing tied for 37th overall at St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto.
He comes into this week’s tournament playing some of his best golf of the season, with two top-10 finishes in the past three weeks on the web.com Tour.
He also had a second-place finish at the Chilliwack open, losing to fellow Canadian Open qualifier Bryn Parry in a playoff. Hadwin said that from a confidence level, he’s going to Glen Abbey in good shape.
“It’s (confidence) certainly up there – I definitely feel pretty good about my game right now,” he said.
“Things are starting to take shape. I am hitting the ball better and making a ton of putts. I am looking forward to getting up to Glen Abbey.
“But it is such a weird game. I remember back in 2011, I really wasn’t comfortable going into the Canadian Open and it was just one of those weeks where I did my best to manage my game and got in my rounds limiting my mistakes.
“I think Glen Abbey will play a little bit differently than Shaughnessy did. .. I think the scores will be a little lower. But I am looking forward to the opportunity to get out in front of the Canadian fans again and hopefully do well.”
This will be Hadwin’s second PGA Tour event this year. He played in the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Penn., last month, but missed the cut after rounds of 81 and 76.
“That definitely didn’t end the way I wanted to,” he said. “I felt really good going into it as well, but I just didn’t play that well.
“But to be in that environment and that atmosphere, and experience everything that went along with the U.S. Open, there is something that you can take from it all the time.”
And what was the biggest thing Hadwin took out of that experience? “Patience – you don’t have to be perfect all the time” he said. “That and a little humility.”