Hadwin now top-ranked Canadian

Adam Hadwin has been playing for seven consecutive weeks and this week he's enjoying some down...

Adam Hadwin has been playing for seven consecutive weeks and this week he's enjoying some down time. (QMI Agency/Richard Lam)

TIM MCKAY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:00 PM ET

He may now be the top-ranked Canadian golfer in the world, but Adam Hadwin isn't going to bask in the moment too long.

When the official world golf ranking was released Monday, the 23-year-old from Abbotsford, B.C., had surpassed Calgary's Stephen Ames by one position, up to 211th. It's a nice feather in his cap, but he likens it to his experience at the Canadian Open.

"It's kind of like winning the low Canadian at the Canadian Open without winning the big trophy," he said. "It's a very special honour. I'm proud to have played the way I have and moved up to be the top Canadian, but I'm still searching for that number-one ranking."

Hadwin is all too aware the world golf ranking is a statistical dalliance with which you can't become obsessed.

"If you take a look at the points, all the points I'm receiving 100% full value. You've got a guy like Graham DeLaet who played so well last year but now those points are starting to come off because of the 52-week rolling cycle. And obviously (Mike) Weir had a ton of success and his points are kind of just starting to fall off.

"The ranking system is basically a what-have-you-done-for-me-now kind of thing."

With another solid showing last week at Greenbrier, where he finished tied for 32nd behind fellow Canadians David Hearn and Chris Baryla, who tied for 18th, Hadwin has been doing quite a bit for himself lately.

With earnings of about $300,000 in his three events on the PGA Tour this season, one would think the young up-and-comer would have money burning a hole in his pocket. But extravagance is not really Hadwin's style, he says.

"I'm still waiting on the Canadian Open cheque ($228,800), so once I get that it will be pretty cool to deposit into my bank account," he said. "It's obviously, by far, the largest cheque of my career.

"I always have these grand ideas of spending some money and buying things, but as soon as I get to the store, I go, 'I don't really need that.' I guess should treat myself for playing well ... but I'm kind of cheap."

One of the best parts about his recent success is the exposure he garnered by playing in the final group at the Canadian Open.

"The coolest thing for me is that people actually knew my name (at the Greenbrier in West Virginia)," Hadwin said. "At the U.S. Open, a kid would ask for my autograph and then turn to his dad and say 'Who was that?' But at Greenbrier people were saying, 'Hey, Adam, can I get your autograph?'

"People actually knew my name."

Hadwin has been playing for seven consecutive weeks and this week he's enjoying some down time. He will finish out his season on the Canadian Tour while hoping to get some exemptions into PGA Tour events.

"I'm hoping to be granted a few more spots, maybe some of the fall Tour events to maybe try to earn enough to maybe try to earn a card or get into final round of Q-school."

EYE OF THE TIGER STORM

Just when some were starting to say the PGA Tour has passed Tiger Woods by and that young stars such as Rory McIroy now are the draw, Tiger's comeback throws a wrench into that theory.

According to PGATour.com's Helen Ross, 367 reporters from 125 news outlets will be a at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio, this week, with more requests coming in.

AND RORY, TOO?

News that McIlroy is thinking of taking up his PGA Tour membership again for next season after not doing so this year can only be a boon for golf. A healthy Woods and a top European star playing a full schedule in North America could do wonders for the PGA Tour, its TV ratings and the game itself.

THE TEE BOX

PGA Tour

Reno-Tahoe Open

Thursday-Sunday: @ Montreux Golf and Country Club (7,472 yards, par 72)

* With all the big boys playing at the WGC event, it's a chance for players to improve their playoff hopes. Mike Weir withdrew with an elbow injury but Canadians Stephen Ames, Matt McQuillan, David Hearn and Chris Baryla are in the field.

WGC

Bridgestone Invitational

Thursday-Sunday: @ Firestone Country Club, south Course (7,400 yards, par 70), akron, Ohio.

* Hunter Mahan will have a tough time defending.

Keeping Score

Five players to watch at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational

1 Tiger Woods

Why watch Woods?

Because everyone else will be.

Tiger has won at Firestone seven times and would be a slam-dunk favourite if he wasn't coming off a stretch in which he hadn't played since bowing out of the Players Championship. Doesn't hurt that he's paired with sentimental British Open win Darren Clarke, either.

2 Rory McIlroy

The toast of the golf world is taking a back seat because of Tiger's return. It will be interesting to see how McIlroy, who placed ninth at Firestone last year, handles the role of second-fiddle.

3 Phil Mickelson

Lefty is coming off a poor performance last week at the Greenbrier Classic, where he missed the cut for the first time this season. There is no cut this week and Mickelson has won on this course before (in 1996, mind you) and he has five top-10s in the Bridgestone event.

4 Steve Stricker

Stricker is coming in hot, having won in two of his past four starts (John Deere Classic and The Memorial). The veteran also has finished in the Top-10 at Firestone in the past two years.

5 Jason Day

Often overlooked when compared to some of the other young guns, the 23-year-old Australian has a big game when it comes to big events. He finished in the top 10 in three straight majors before the British, where he was 30th. He has seven Top-10s this season.


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