April/May 2017
Photos: Levelwear, Facebook, Adam Hadwin

When Mike Weir of Bright’s Grove, Ont. won the 2003 Masters Tournament, Adam Hadwin was a 15-year-old kid growing up in Abbotsford, B.C., and just starting to take golf seriously. Like most junior golfers at that time, Hadwin idolized Tiger Woods more than Weir. But Hadwin, 29, now a PGA Tour winner, took notice of what his fellow Canadian accomplished south of the border. In fact, Hadwin says don’t sell the Mike Weir factor short here in Canada: the diminutive lefty from Huron Oaks Golf Club inspired a whole new generation of Canadian golfers now making noise on the PGA Tour.  Hadwin, winner of the Valspar Championship on March 12, is a two-time winner on the Mackenzie Tour PGA Tour Canada (2009-12), staging its Freedom 55 Financial Championship at Highland Country Club September 11-17. Like Weir, Hadwin grew up playing multiple sports, including baseball. After competing for the University of Louisville, he turned pro in 2009. Indeed, Hadwin’s star power has risen exponentially this season. Hadwin became a household name in Canada once he became the first Canuck to shoot a 59 on tour during the third round of the CareerBuilder Challenge in January. He finished second with a four-day total 269 (-19). Then came the Valspar at Innesbrook Resort Copperhead Course in Palm Harbor, Fla. Just seven weeks after he shot 59, and two weeks before his wedding, he claimed his first PGA Tour win, and a $1.134-million purse. He has now accumulated $2.6 million in earnings this season while climbing to fifth on the FedExCup standings, and World No. 46. Of course, the win qualified him for the Masters at Augusta National. Hadwin skipped the WGC-Match Play, and for good reason: he and fiancé, Jessica, were married March 24. Less than a week before his win at the Valspar, and then again one hour after he captured his first PGA Tour victory, Hadwin spoke with editor Jeffrey Reed about the state of golf for Canadians on the PGA Tour. Without a doubt, he’s one of the quickest Canucks with a quip, and an athlete who offers much more than a cliché quote. Here’s that interview.

Jeffrey Reed, Editor, Adam, you recently revisited the scene of your 59 at the CareerBuilder Challenge for a nice function following your extraordinary round.
Adam Hadwin: Yes, each year they extend an honorary membership to the winner of the tournament, and they decided to go ahead and extend one to me, because of that round at La Quinta. So I spent a few hours with the members, which was really nice, and thanked them for a great week, signed some autographs.
Reed: I’ll play Monday morning quarterback: that 59 could easily have been three strokes better, which is tough to wrap your head around. But really, that’s golf, right? It’s like missing a cut: one missed putt over two days can send you packing Friday.
Hadwin: Exactly. Look at my round of 59. I could have missed three or four putts, which, in a normal day I probably should have. It still would have been a good round, but nobody would be talking to me about it. Nobody would care.
Reed: We’re talking about the Mike Weir factor today, and how he overachieved, went to Q-School six times, persevered and became the most accomplished Canadian ever on the PGA Tour with, of course, that 2003 Masters Tournament victory. Golf is about fine lines, isn’t it?

“Look at my round of 59. I could have missed three or four putts … nobody would be talking to me about it. Nobody would care.” Hadwin

Hadwin: It’s a very fine line, and you’ve got to be lucky to do what we do some days. And I think if you talk to most winners, they’ll tell you that you have to get a few breaks, and obviously take advantage of those breaks. But you certainly have to have some luck on your side to do special things on the golf course.
Reed: The grass has certainly been green for Canadians on tour in recent times. Your fellow Mackenzie Tour graduates, Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., Nick Taylor, who also grew up in Abbotsford, and Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont. are doing great things. (Last November, Hughes won The RSM Classic in only his ninth start on the PGA Tour. Taylor won the PGA Tour’s 2015 Sanderson Farms Championship. Healthy again and putting well, DeLaet is poised to capture his first win this season. So is David Hearn, who finished T18 at the Valspar).
Hadwin: I think we’re at the point where you’ll see four or five Canadians on tour every year, and not just on tour but contending, putting their names on the leaderboards. Hopefully as a group we can continue the momentum for another five, 10, 15 years. And as we get older, new waves will come up.
Reed: All of you look up to Weir. What do you remember about that Masters victory in ’03?
Hadwin: I was 15 when Mike won the Masters. To be honest, I don’t remember where I was, or what I was doing. But of course I knew that he made that big putt at 18 to get into a playoff. I definitely took notice of what Mike was able to do at Augusta, but not just at the Masters. He won three times that year. He really set himself as one of the greatest players at that time. And what he did in Montreal at the Presidents Cup was pretty special, taking down Tiger.
Reed: He really was one of the greats during that run – a lot of people forget that. That inspired you.
Hadwin: Mike’s success during the Tiger era is pretty impressive. I watched him a lot growing up. Having a Canadian do what he did was pretty special. And I remember telling myself, there’s no reason why I can’t do that.
Reed: You idolized Tiger, as did countless others. Talk about that influence, in particular how we now see great athletes enter the game. Look no further than Dustin Johnson, winner of his last three events. Not bad as he prepares for the Masters.

“Mike (Weir’s) success during the Tiger era is pretty impressive.”Hadwin

Hadwin: I think Tiger is the sole reason for so many great young golfers entering the game. He took the game to a whole new level, and he reached kids who may not have been reached otherwise. Now you see guys like (Johnson) and Rory (McIlroy) and Jason (Day) and Jordan (Spieth). And now, those guys are starting to reach a whole new generation of kids who may not have been reached with the message of golf, and who may not have gone into golf otherwise.
Reed: There are two huge detriments to growing the game: the time factor; and the money factor. Throw in the fact that today’s kids are glued to screens, and it makes golf a tough sell at times, doesn’t it?
Hadwin: You’ve touched on two things right away. Time is a big thing. After school, kids can stay and play soccer or go to basketball practice, and then they’re home by 4:30 p.m. versus having to get them from school, get them to a golf course. If you want to go play on the weekends, you are minimum three hours typically. So I think there’s a part of the trouble with our game, and I don’t know if there are any solutions for that. That’s our game, unfortunately. I know people have come up with ideas about bigger holes, or 12-hole courses. But I think one of the biggest things in Canada is the Golf In Schools Program, trying to get people introduced to it at a younger age, and if nothing else, just a basic understanding of what golf is. And if they like it, they like it. If they don’t, they don’t. But it is important to get them introduced to golf at an early age. That’s huge. But they have to have fun with it. That’s the biggest thing.
Reed: I suppose like anything worth achieving, finding a passion for golf does take considerable effort. But obviously, anyone who is passionate about the game knows it’s worth the effort.

“One of the biggest things in Canada is the Golf In Schools Program.”Hadwin

Hadwin: It’s not easy, and it is a huge commitment. And it’s a big commitment from everybody, right? The kid, the parents, everyone involved.
Reed: Well it paid off for you, and now you’re inspiring a whole new generation of Canadian kids on the links.
Hadwin: Thanks Jeff, I appreciate it.

Ed. Note: After his win at the Valspar, Hadwin spoke about the Canadian factor, the Masters and how he would lean on Weir for advice. “It’s pretty incredible that I am part of a very special group on tour, being Canadian,” said Hadwin, who took notice of “a ton of Canadian flags all over the place. It’s really a win for the country, not just myself.

One Weir: “I didn’t know Mike until maybe 2010, 2011 Canadian Open (but) I can remember back to Torrey Pines one year where Saturday got fogged out and he was in the first group off, and I was second group off. So I spent a bunch of time with him waiting out delays and chatting with him.”

When asked if he would lean on Weir for some inside information on Augusta National, Hadwin quipped, “I hope he’s okay with answering a bunch of questions, because I’ll certainly take any advice I can get, especially from a former champion.”

Hadwin called Augusta National the “greenest place on earth.”

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office established 1989. Publisher/Editor of this website and

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!