|Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, BC reacts after hitting his tee shot while playing the eigth hole during the final round of the 2011 RBC Canadian Open at Shaughnessy Golf And Country Club in Vancouver, BC, July, 24, 2011. (RICHARD LAM/QMI Agency)
It could be argued that Adam Hadwin was hiding in the weeds, easing the pressure when he made the turn in the final round of the RBC Canadian Open at four over, but don't be silly. He would have handed back that double bogey on eight and his two other bogeys in a heartbeat.
Just as his followers from around his home and native land were resigned that he was out of it, Hadwin, 23, turned the tables once again, banging off three consecutive birdies to tie for fourth, not the finish he sought, but pretty sweet consolation for a visitor to the PGA Tour.
Hadwin's performance is typical of the way this season has progressed since shifting into high gear on the green carpets of Augusta into a roller-coaster that has climbed, dipped, tilted,
and churned as spectators stood like observing parents, watching as the kids enjoy the ride and want more.
From the time Rickie Fowler, 22, was chastised for wearing his hat backward in the stuffy confines of Augusta, we've seen him, Charl Schwartzel, 26, Jason Day, 23, and the inimitable Rory McIlroy, 22, making their names in the most unlikely of places, including the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open.
We're in a transitional period between generations and the youngsters are coming harder than they ever did to answer their elders who once complained that Tiger Woods had no competition, except for maybe Phil Mickelson. If those people are still fixated on Tiger and Phil, they're missing something grand.
Hadwin isn't at that level yet, but his performance at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club indicates that something special can come out of the part of Canadian golf that isn't the PGA Tour, or the LPGA Tour on the women's side.
As Hadwin was setting off his fireworks, did anybody notice that Jessica Shepley, 28, of Oakville won her first event on the LPGA Futures Tour at the International at Concord, or that Rebecca Lee-Bentham, 19, won the Royale Cup as national women's amateur champ on Friday?
Now that Hadwin has had his day in the sun, will the Canadian Tour's Ontario swing later this month draw more crowds when he returns to reality?
Just like the people who can't get past Tiger and Phil on tour, the people ignoring the development circuits for Canadians can miss someone like Hadwin, but there are no guarantees that a young player will pan out. That's part of the fun of keeping an eye on them.
In the case of players such as Fowler and McIlroy, their respective countries saw them coming, but Hadwin's main claim to fame with his countrymen before the 2011 Open is that he was low Canadian the year before.
Being so focused on the big tours does not make this country's sports fans big league. It only makes them less than knowledgeable.
BIG JOHN STILL A BOMBER
The ever-lasting image of John Daly is his grip-it-and- rip-it style off the tee and Big John didn't back off at Shaughnessy despite its gnarly rough. Daly's 305.9- yard driving distance average was the second-best at the Open, but he used a deft touch around the green as well, including a beauty from under the trees on 10 to save par on Sunday. Daly's tie for ninth looks pretty sweet to a guy who has missed the cut in nine of his 13 events this year...Dye his hair blonde and Kris Blanks is looking more like Daly than Daly is these days...Did you get tired of hearing about the FedEx Cup point standings on the CBS telecast? The PGA Tour is understandably determined to make the playoffs fly, but with majors and other big events, golf is like no other sport when it comes to fan interest in an end-of-season championship. Fans may take interest when the playoff events are underway, but the FedEx standings are not something most are taking interest in over the entire season. There is no anticipation as there is in hockey or football... It's nice that CBS shows so much respect for our national championship, but they overcooked the asking of Canadian players about what it would mean to win the Canadian Open. You know it's going to get repetitive, especially with the "fifth major" line. Can't imagine one player saying that it means jack?...The TV guys were also big on getting the Open back to Shaughnessy ASAP. Can't blame them for that, but remember the rave reviews the players have given the Hamilton Golf and Country Club, the host venue next year.
NAMES FROM THE PAST
Chez Reavie was 27 when he won the 2008 Canadian Open at Glen Abbey and that's still paying benefits as Reavie is now playing on past champion status. Reavie shot a three-under 67 on Sunday to tie for 13th... Jim Furyk, who won the Open in each of the two years prior to Reavie, was even par to tie for 34th, along with Brantford's David Hearn. It hasn't been a banner year for the former U.S. Open champ who missed five of seven cuts coming to Vancouver from the British Open, where he tied for 48th. Furyk has just a couple of top 10s in 19 starts... Does anybody have more fun in golf than Jerry Kelly, who also tied for 34th?