Hadwin: 'My goal is to be No. 1'

TIM MCKAY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:02 PM ET

Is Adam Hadwin Canadian golf's next Great White hope?

"I could be, absolutely" the confident 23-year-old said recently. "That's my goal. My goal is to be No. 1 in the world. If I achieve that goal, I will be that guy."

It certainly looked like it at last month's Canadian Open at Vancouver's shaughnessy Golf and Country Club, which played out almost as a microcosm of the Canadian golf landscape at the moment.

The aging Canadian hero, Mike Weir, pulled out after aggravating an arm injury that has put his career into a tailspin over the past couple of seasons.

A bunch of other Canadians -- there as members of the PGA Tour, via qualifying or through sponsor's exemptions -- showed up and faired moderately well, or missed the cut.

But Hadwin gave fans something they had been longing for: a Canadian to cheer for.

"It has been quite a while for (fans) to really embrace someone," Hadwin said, pointing to Weir's 2003 Masters win as something that unified the country's golf fans. "They haven't had anyone really (recently). Graham DeLaet had a great year last year (a third and three top-10 finishes to earn $954,001 for 123rd on the money list) and there has been some great finishes by some Canadians this year on the (PGA) Tour but there hasn't been someone that's consistently up there like Weir was.

"And I think (the fans) want somebody to take over and to really give them something to watch on Saturday and Sunday."

While Hadwin currently is the top-ranked Canadian in the official world golf ranking, tagging him as our country's next big thing would be a bit of a leap, and a disservice to the players playing on the PGA Tour this season.

Already a little uncomfortable in the fact that he's the top ranked Canadian despite being a Canadian Tour player, Hadwin is respectful about not wanting to sound "a little rude to the guys on tour."

Canadian Tour commissioner and CEO Rick Janes said Hadwin's accomplishment not only great for his tour, but for Canadian golf.

"Like Major League Baseball, golf has its own minor league system. Very few athletes garner much notoriety at that level. Canadian Adam Hadwin would be the exception," he said. "Adam is currently the highest ranked Canadian on the Official World golf rankings. That is an amazing accomplishment. It puts the Canadian Tour sophomore ahead of PGA TOur players like Stephen Ames, David Hearn, Graham DeLaet and Mike Weir. I hope that Canadians are taking note."

Canadian golf veteran and Champions Tour player Jim Rutledge says Hadwin -- who he describes as "fearless" -- is simply riding a streak and taking advantage of the opportunities he is given, something he says can happen quickly for any of the players on tour.

"It's amazing what one good, or two good tournaments can do for a kid, too," Rutledge said. "He can be playing ho-hum all year long and then all of a sudden get his break. And then, like Hadwin, get a break and then take off like a shot and never look back."


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