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Big change, hard work, paying off for Hadwin – Golf Canada SCOREGolf


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Good thing I’m not much of a betting man. I would have placed a large wager on Patrick Cantlay beating Jordan Spieth in that RBC Heritage playoff ×× Will Spieth now go for the RBC double? The 13-time PGA Tour winner has never played the RBC Canadian Open and one of these years he’ll have to under the PGA Tour’s strength of field regulation, which requires players to add an event to their schedule they have not played in the last four years. Spieth would be a big draw at St. George’s G&CC in June ×× By the way, there are exemptions to that rule, commonly referred to as the one-in-four rule: PGA Tour life members (Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson are two) and those who play at least 25 events per season, which is a small number these days ×× There are three Canadians in the field at this week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the PGA Tour’s lone team event: Adam Hadwin and Adam Svensson, who will play together, and Michael Gligic, who is partnering with Ryan Armour ×× Ryan Palmer sure knows how to pick them. Palmer is playing with World No. 1 and Masters champion Scottie Scheffler this week in New Orleans. In 2019, he won the tournament alongside Jon Rahm, who was rocketing his way to stardom at the time. And in 2017, the first year New Orleans went to a team format, Palmer finished fourth playing with Spieth.

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If you’re wondering why Taylor Pendrith has not teed it up since the Players Championship it’s because he sustained a fractured rib in that tournament. According to his agent, the plan is for Pendrith to return no later than next month’s PGA Championship. He’s being very careful with the injury ×× Leftover Masters thought: The major tournament never fails to deliver when it comes to anticipation and excitement but it does have a nasty habit of producing clunkers. That’s three Masters in a row without much drama on Sunday ×× Maybe the most bizarre thing in professional golf is the PGA Tour Champions conducting back-to-back major championships twice. The seniors will play the Regions Tradition and Senior PGA Championship in consecutive weeks in May and then the Senior Players Championship right before the U.S. Senior Open in late June and early July ×× Popular golf apps where you can find live scoring ranked: The Masters, Golf Channel, DP World Tour, PGA Tour, LPGA Tour ×× This is some real inside baseball but I don’t understand that Titleist commercial in which Jim Nantz tells us that we may never know why Bob Vokey “took on the world of wedges.” Vokey, born in Montreal and raised in Verdun, Que., has answered that question repeatedly! Here’s a Q+A with Vokey from 2017, the year he went into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.     

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While his top-10 streak halted at three with his T26 at the RBC Heritage, Adam Hadwin does have six top-30 finishes in his last seven starts. In that time, which stretches back to early February, he has moved to 39th on the FedEx Cup ranking from 84th. This after a season in which Hadwin was outside the top 100 in FedEx Cup points for the first time since he was a PGA Tour rookie in 2014-15, which meant he wasn’t guaranteed to retain full playing privileges until relatively late in the year. What’s changed? It’s a little bit of golf being golf, but behind the scenes Hadwin has spent a long time making a significant swing change. A 2017 winner and a Presidents Cup participant in 2017 and 2019, Hadwin had grown unhappy with his inability to contend more. He relied on his putter too much, he said, and that’s not a recipe for success in the big leagues. The specific change was to strengthen his clubface on the downswing, which means having it come into the ball square. Previously, he delivered the clubface slightly open and used his hands to achieve results. To ingrain the change, he and his coach, Mark Blackburn, essentially decided to let Hadwin’s swing “go wherever it went” as long as he committed to that new clubface orientation. Only when he mastered that did they work on getting his swing back on plane. So it was a long, multi-step process that at times left Hadwin without much feel. In fact, he said, he couldn’t really shape the ball last summer, which is how he’s always preferred to play. Nonetheless, he stuck with it. “I was seeing the improvements early on enough to know that this is the right path, I just kind of had to fight through it,” he said, noting a T8 finish last year at a windy Honda Classic on a golf course in PGA National he doesn’t like. “These last few weeks things are starting to click. I’m seeing the shots; I’m hitting the shots. That in turn takes a lot of pressure off everything else and I can play a little more relaxed and carefree and not be afraid to make mistakes.” The PGA Tour is competitive enough without having to play it with a weakened arsenal, but that’s essentially the choice Hadwin made. Get worse in the short term to ultimately get better in the long term. Others have done so over the years, too. Tiger Woods most famously and most often. “It was difficult. There were some low periods for sure, but there was enough good to make me believe I was on the right track,” he said. “Hopefully this is just the beginning.” To that end, Hadwin currently ranks 13th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained, approach the green. Iron play, essentially. Last season, he was a dismal 166th.

Obscure thought of the week: Memo to LinkedIn users: Please learn some synonyms for the word “thrilled.”



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