With nine events left in the Nationwide Tour season, David Hearn refuses to change his mindset.
The Brantford, Ont., native sits 19th on the money list -- well inside the top-25 to automatically earn a PGA Tour card for next season -- but he's not looking at the final events, including this week's Mylan Classic in Canonsburg, Pa., with any more consternation than he did events at the beginning of the season.
"I'm either going to play well enough to get my PGA card or I'm not," Hearn said in a matter-of-fact manner during a phone interview Wednesday. "Whatever happens, happens. It's not like I'm going to be stricken to a hospital bed (if he doesn't end up in the top-25)."
And while he doesn't really look at it that way, Hearn's results have been getting better the past few weeks. Between the end of May and the beginning of August, Hearn played in seven events, missing the cut in five of them and finishing tied for 44th and 55th in the others. In his past three events, however, Hearn has finished tied for 41st, tied for 21st and, last week at the Knoxville News Sentinel Open, tied for 12th. That marks a steady improvement, at least on paper.
"The difference between a good week and missing the cut is pretty close," Hearn, 31, said. "I don't really think I've done anything different (in the past few tournaments)."
What's encouraging is that Hearn says he's "close to having a breakout week."
Sitting at $141,074 US (much of it coming after second- and fourth-place finishes early in the season), a breakout would benefit Hearn, who likely needs to have earned about $200,000 to ensure his PGA Tour playing priviledges for next season. But while one big payday would be nice, Hearn, a veteran pro, knows he can't have the money list on his mind.
"Week-in and week-out, I don't monitor where I am in the standings," he said. "The larger goal is to be in the top-25, but you can't get wrapped up in it."
This week, Hearn says his game is well-suited to the Southpointe Golf Club. He says the course is a bit different, hilly with soft greens, and should play to his strengths because there is a premium put on hitting the fairways and finding the right part of the sloping greens.
Beyond that, however, the key, Hearn says, will be rest.
"I have kind of planned out which events I'm playing and which ones I'm not," he said. "I am going to play all the big ones. There are nine events in a row (including this week's) and I'm playing seven."
When the competition is tight and the desire to be in the top-25 the ultimate motivation on the Nationwide Tour, one would think it would be tough to take a week or two off during the homestretch.
"The goal is to play well when you do play," Hearn said of his quality-over-quanity philosophy. "When I played on the PGA in 2005, I probably played too many (tournaments) in a row.
"You find your limits."
Hearn's two weeks off will consist of time in the gym, doing things around the house and a little bit of practice.
"You have to rest your body," he says. "I still do things, just not golf."
The young man seems to have his return to the PGA Tour figured out and it's perhaps his quiet confidence that is most remarkable.
"I know my game is good enough to get my (PGA) tour card," he said. "I am looking forward (the rest of this season)."
Wie saves the Open
Michelle Wie provided a feel-good story to an event that sorely needed it.
A rules violation resulted in the disqualification of Shi Hyun Ahn and Il Mi Chung, who reportedly played each other's ball on the 18th hole on Thursday. Longtime caddie Larry Smich wrote on his blog that someone had told him that Ahn was overheard telling her caddie that, "You did not see anything."
Some have called Smich's motives into question, saying he has something against the Koreans on tour, but it looks as if the LPGA is looking into the matter.
Whether Smich has some sort of axe to grind or his accusation was valid, the LPGA certainly didn't need to engage in another North American versus Korean debate. Remember the outcry in 2008 when the LPGA tried to institute a language policy to make all players speak in English?
Thankfully, Wie claimed her first full-field victory on the LPGA Tour to give the Canadian Women's Open, and the LPGA, the positive type of coverage it needed.