The boys are back in town.
Five Canadians, Graham DeLaet, David Hearn, Adam Hadwin, Nick Taylor and Roger Sloan (who finished second place in a pre-tournament qualifier) will tee it up this week at the Sony Open in Hawaii – beginning a year unlike any other in Canadian professional golf in the last decade.
There will be six Canadians with status on the PGA Tour for 2014-15 – Mike Weir, who isn’t playing this week, is the other – and with Nick Taylor already capturing a victory (he won the Sanderson Farms Championship in November), this may be the strongest Canadian golf has been on the PGA Tour in quite some time.
Taylor finished T29th at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions last week, earning just under $60,000 (USD). Meanwhile, Adam Hadwin, who already had a top-10 in the fall series, has full-time status on the PGA Tour for the first time ever.
The 27-year-old, who was the leading money winner on the Web.com Tour in 2014, told reporters today that he thought it was “weird to start his season so quickly”
“Normally I’ve got another month before I start. I went home for Christmas for a week, then straight back down to Phoenix and right back into it. I’ve been working hard in Phoenix since Dec. 28th. The reason I worked so hard was a pretty good reason, to play on the PGA Tour.”
It’s quite early to be analyzing FedEx Cup standings, but through a handful of tournaments at the end of 2014 – as part of the 2014-15 wraparound season – Weir, Hadwin, DeLaet, Hearn and especially Nick Taylor are in solid positions as they gear up for the first tournament of this calendar year.
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DeLaet, who had to withdraw from two Fall Series events, told Bob Weeks from SCOREGolf that he is as healthy has he’s ever been.
“It really takes its toll,” he stated. “You get to the end of the year and everyone is pretty banged up . . . hips, knees, backs. You don’t think of golf as an impact sport but it is.”
But with time off and lots of rehab, the Saskatchewan native who has battled a long list of aches and pains in his career, declared himself fit and ready to go.
“I’ve been playing golf six days a week in December and January with no problems,” he said. “Really I’m healthy, or at least as healthy as I’m going to be.”
With one Canadian already notching a victory on the PGA Tour this year, it would be easy to say that another one is on the way.
However, given the depth of the talent on the PGA Tour right now, it’s easier said than done. But who knows, this is as good a week as any.
Here are the Canadian tee-times for round one of the Sony Open —