Last Updated on Friday, 16 September 2011 13:55
Saturday, 27 August 2011 16:20
by Bryan Outram
There's probably way too much expectation already being heaped on the young man, but one gets the feeling he can handle it just fine. In fact, he may actually thrive on it.
Abbotsford, B.C.'s Adam Hadwin didn't really just drop out of the sky with his red cape flowing behind him or come roaring up in his 'Batmobile', but he does seem to have arrived just in the nick of time.
With the PGA Tour's battlefield littered with severely wounded Canadian golfers, one almost expects Mike Weir to come marching out of the swirling smoke playing a fife with a bloodied bandage wrapped around his head accompanied by Graham DeLaet and Chris Baryla playing snare drums as they limp alongside him.
The litany of health issues that has befallen the largest contingent of PGA Tour carded Canadian males to head into a golf season in history is too many to list here. And honestly it's too depressing as well.
Rather, with all due respect to David Hearn and Matt McQuillan who seem to be doing their utmost to resurrect a downtrodden year for the Maple Leaf lads, the attention of Western Canadian - if not an entire nation of golf fans - has turned directly to the unassuming, not quite yet 24-year old Hadwin.
His results in limited PGA Tour appearances to this point have been most impressive - starting with his finish in last year's Canadian Open where he was the low Canadian and continuing into this year's U.S. Open where 3 birdies on his final 4 holes on Sunday gave him a round of 68 and a T39th.
Of course the performance that has brought him the most attention to date was his T4th at Vancouver's Shaughnessy G&CC in this summer's RBC Canadian Open.
After thrusting himself into serious contention with a 2nd round 66, Hadwin hung in even when it appeared he was going to completely disintegrate playing in the final group on Sunday.
Despite a somewhat unnerving 4-putt on the 8th hole, he turned his fortunes around with 3 straight birdies on 12, 13 and 14 to get back within one shot of the lead.
There was no folding the tent, going home and a ‘thanks for showing up anyway’ taking place for this well-grounded son of a CPGA Professional.
In fact, as he mounted his comeback charge on the back nine, the excitement generated could be heard and felt all through the majestic stands of Douglas Fir trees that line the fairways of Shaughnessy GC. And far from causing him to stumble or tighten up with nerves it only served to spur him on.
It’s been a while since a young Canadian golfer had that kind of effect on a group of partisan golf fans and the electricity in the air over the final few holes on Sunday was palpable.
Although he would come 2 shots shy of making a playoff eventually won by Sean O’Hair, there was no doubt that a star was born in the eyes of golf fans all across Canada.
It would appear he also made an impact further south as Hadwin’s exploits were beamed to the United States on CBS Sports, accompanied by some glowing words from commentator extraordinaire David Feherty.
Following the top five finish in his national open, Hadwin received an invitation to play in the Greenbrier in West Virginia the next week. Once again Hadwin did more than merely show up, as a pair of 68’s in the final two rounds gave him a share of 32nd place.
One of the more interesting moments to come from that experience was that Hadwin found himself being recognized by the golf fans in West Virginia.
As he tells it, “The coolest thing for me is that people actually knew my name. At the U.S. Open, a kid would ask for my autograph and then turn to his dad and say, ‘Who was that?’ But at Greenbrier people were saying, ‘Hey Adam, can I get your autograph?’
“People actually knew my name.”
Get used to it Adam, the way things are going, there are going to be a whole lot more people who know your name. And want your autograph.
By Bryan Outram
Bryan Outram has been editor-in-chief for Inside Golf for the past eight years.
More articles by Bryan Outram