Adam Hadwin Looking Forward To Open Championship Experience

Abbotsford Pro Adam Hadwin Says He Has Lots To Learn About Links Golf Before Teeing It Up At Royal Birkdale - Image Courtesy

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

Adam Hadwin doesn’t quite know what to expect, on or off the golf course, as he heads to England for his first Open Championship.“I haven’t been over there, I have never been to Europe, not even to vacation or anything,” Hadwin tells British Columbia Golf. “It is going to be different, but I am looking forward to that challenge.”

Well, for starters, Adam, they drive on the left side of the road over there. Seriously, that figures to be the least of Hadwin’s worries. He is more concerned about the crash course in links golf that will begin when he arrives at Royal Birkdale, site of the July 20-23 Open Championship.

Hadwin admits he has lots to learn. He and caddie Joe Cruz arrive Saturday morning and will have five days to try and figure out some of the nuances of the golf course. “I really don’t know how to play links golf,” Hadwin says.“So it should be interesting. It will be a lot of prep the days leading up to it trying to figure out how to play certain shots."

I think getting around the golf course and seeing as many different lies as I can will be important. I want to put myself in some of those pot bunkers and figure out when I can get out of them and when I can’t, when I can run things up and when I can fly things there. All that kind of stuff goes into the preparation. Things that you aren’t really used to here in the U.S. where you play one type of golf the whole way.”

Hadwin is heading to England in a great state of mind and well rested after a two-week break from the PGA TOUR. That break has given him an opportunity to reflect on what has been a breakthrough year for the 29-year-old. He shot that 59 back in January in the third round of the CareerBuilder Challenge in La Quinta, Calif., where he finished solo second. Two months later, he earned his first PGA TOUR win at the Valspar Championship in Florida.

And while his play has tailed off slightly of late, Hadwin says he is determined to enjoy the remainder of the year. He thinks his attitude on the golf course hasn’t been as good as it should be of late. It was almost like after his win Hadwin felt he had to do it again and again. “I think more than anything I might have come out with too many expectations, like you’ve won and you should do this every week now,” he says.

“I think I was getting a little bit more frustrated on the golf course than I had been the first few months. I've been trying to figure out what comes first, bad golf or bad attitude, or is it bad attitude and then bad golf? They are all kind of a vicious circle.”

Hadwin has spent the past couple of weeks taking stock of his year and realizes that everything from this point on is gravy. “The attitude I am going to take into these next eight to 10 weeks is just go out and try to enjoy it more, relish the position you are in on the FedEx Cup points list. You have secured your card, you've got a two-year exemption, you can plan a schedule, you can do what you need to do. So just go out and hit some shots and kind of let the cards fall.”

Hadwin knows that almost everyone on the PGA TOUR has their ups and downs. “Outside of a few people, most players make hay in a three- to six-week stretch on Tour. You make your money, you keep your card and you sort of hang on.” Hadwin will play the next four weeks and they aren’t your run-of-the-mill tourneys.

After the Open Championship, he returns home to play in the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Course in Oakville, Ont., which is like a fifth major to him. Then it’s on to the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Oh. That is followed by another major, the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, N.C.

Hadwin will then take a one-week break before the start of the four-event playoffs. He is currently 12th on the FedEx Cup points list and has an opportunity to make some very serious money in the playoffs. “That whole first part of the season kind of set me up for some good things the entire rest of the year,” he says. “I have always gone into the FedEx Cup playoffs having to play really well the first couple of events to even move on. I am in a position now where there is not as much pressure in those first couple of events.”

Hadwin is hoping his season won’t end with the playoffs. Making the International team for this fall’s Presidents Cup remains a big goal. He currently stands 11th on the International Team points list and wants to move up so he doesn’t have to rely on captain Nick Price making him a captain’s choice.

“I don’t want to have to rely on a captain’s pick. You just set yourself up for failure if you are dong that. Captain Price can go any which way he wants. I think that I have maybe been placing too much importance on the team. It is something that I really want to accomplish this year but for a stretch there I was kind of checking the rankings after each week to see where I was.“

I have gotten over that and back to the point of just taking care of my business on the golf course and play well out there and go back to enjoying things a little bit more. If I can do that hopefully it produces the results it was earlier this year and then everything else will take care of itself. I've got four events left before the playoffs now and they are four big events and then playoffs, so you have got eight big events before the Presidents Cup. I want my game to go into a little bit higher gear and start competing a little bit more at these tournaments.”

That starts at his first Open Championship, which Hadwin acknowledges has him a little excited.“I feel good, I feel rested, I am excited to travel over there and try to get settled and live an English life for a week,” he says.