He's the next Mike Weir, he's the next Mike Weir, he's the next Mike Weir.
They've been saying that about every half-decent Canadian golfer to come down the pike since ... well, since Mike Weir.
But it's been seven years since Weir bid adieu to the Canadian Tour and set about becoming the greatest player this country has ever produced.
Nothing. Just fringe players Ian Leggatt and David Moreland.
A Tour that has groomed PGA winners Chris DiMarco, Kirk Triplett, Notah Begay, Steve Stricker and Stuart Appleby can't get past the prospect stage with its homegrown talent (Stephen Ames doesn't count because he was born in Trinidad).
"I think it's tough for anyone who takes on the task of trying to become a good PGA Tour player, let alone those coming from Canada," said 25-year-old Brantford, Ont., product David Hearn, the hottest Canadian on the Canadian Tour right now.
"Just in general, it's a difficult road. But I'm confident there are at least half a dozen guys from Canada who are going to go on and have success on the PGA Tour in the next five or six years."
WON'T TAKE LONG
Those who've been following this tour closely say Hearn will be leading that pack - and it probably won't take five years for it to happen.
In his rookie season two years ago he finished eighth on the Tour's money list. He was second in stroke average (70.08) last year before a back injury sidelined the rest of his season.
And the streak he brings to Edmonton this week is hotter than anything the Telus Open has ever seen before.
"It's not something I would have necessarily expected, to be coming out here playing quite as well as I am," said Hearn, who's finished third, second and first in his last three starts to move into third place on the money list.
"But I'm certainly happy that I am."
Any doubts about the extent of his groove are erased by a quick look at his scorecards: He's been par or better in 12 straight rounds (70-71-64-68 in Victoria; 68-72-67-66 in Vancouver and 70-63-67-68 in Winnipeg).
"I didn't know that ... in fact, I don't think I wanted to know that," laughed Hearn after 90 minutes on the Derrick's practice range yesterday. "But I've been working pretty hard on a few swing changes I made in February and it takes a while for that stuff to finally sink in and take shape.
"Over the last couple of weeks it's starting to show so I'm obviously excited with the way my game's been going."
But don't call him the next Mike Weir, not even if he wins again this weekend.
"I don't think that anyone out here will be the next Mike Weir, because Mike Weir is a pretty special player," said Hearn. "To be ranked No. 5 in the world is an accomplishment that very few achieve.
"All of us out here, Canadian or otherwise, are just trying to be ourselves, to see how far we can go and to be the best players we can be."
But for the Canucks, Mike Weir comparisons are something they'll all have to deal with until successful Canadians become less of a rarity on the PGA.
"It's a little unfair at times," said Hearn, who's no stranger to playing in someone's shadow, being from Wayne Gretzky's hometown and all.
"I have used Mike's career as a model, but I certainly don't want to be labelled (as the next one) or anything like that.
Weir's Canadian Tour history isn't a long one. He spent five years up here, winning once in his rookie season (1993) and twice more in 1997 to capture the Tour's money list. He graduated to the big tour at 28, some $13 million US ago.
"When I turned pro my initial goal was to be on the PGA Tour in three years, which may have been a little bit lofty now that this is my third season as a pro," said Hearn. "I can still achieve that goal by the end of this year, but it's difficult to say when your development is going to hit its peak and you're ready for the next level - it's not something you can put a time-line on."