TORONTO - The thing about composure is it’s more obvious when a guy contends for his national championship, but just as important if he misses a cut or two.
As Adam Hadwin made his unlikely run at last July’s RBC Canadian Open, he impressed the nation with a calmness beyond his 23 years.
His eventual tie for fourth was one of two top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour, seemingly coming attractions for a rare direct jump to the big show.
It didn’t work out that way. Hadwin started the final stage of Q-school solidly, but ballooned to 76-75 in the fourth and fifth rounds before tying for 100th to earn conditional Nationwide Tour status.
Into every career, a little rain must fall and it quickly becomes a hurricane without the same composure it takes to get near the top of the leaderboard, particularly for a young player.
True to form, Hadwin appeared no different last week from the long shot who didn’t realize he wasn’t supposed to contend in PGA Tour events, despite missing the cut at the Nationwide Tour’s season opener in Colombia, where a second round 78 sunk him.
“I’m going to learn more from weeks like (Colombia) than I will from winning. The game, it really did feel pretty good. I hit a lot of good shots. I did a lot of good things, made a lot of good putts that just didn’t fall,” said Hadwin.
“Unfortunately, I had to sign for a 78 the second day, but I took a lot of positives out of the week. I think it’s just more or less one of those weeks, kind of the same thing as Q-school,” he added.
“I wouldn’t say I’m at a point where I’ve been struggling for a while because it’s really only been two events that I haven’t played well. If we were sitting here talking after five or six events, then I might be saying that this is just a time that I’ve got to fight through,” he said.
On the flip side of drawing energy from the positives, Hadwin tries to learn from what went wrong.
“I performed pretty well for three-and-a-half days at Q-school. It was really just the last two-and-a-half rounds that got me,” he said.
“Then, things just kind of went straight downhill from there. I think it was a combination of things. I think I let my emotions kind of get the best of me at Q-school. Once things started to slide, I wasn’t able to refocus,” said Hadwin, adding that led to complications.
“I think my mechanics caught up to me a little bit. I didn’t feel the greatest over the golf ball. I hit some shots that I normally don’t hit,” he said. “It’s one of those tough things where success breeds confidence and confidence breeds success. Which one do you have first though?”
This is where composure prevents a possible unravelling and one thing Hadwin has is his success from last year to help keep his confidence going into this week’s Nationwide Tour event in Panama.
“Last summer, I went on an unbelievable run and I was feeling good about my game, but that’s something I build on each event and I kind of knew I was playing well instead of just believing that I was playing well,” he said.
It’s that confidence that also helps him quickly get over a missed cut.
McILROY LOST IT EARLY
It was apparent early that Rory McIlroy did not deserve the No. 1 status in the world in yesterday’s Accenture Match Play Championship final, beginning with the short putt he missed on the first hole or his errant drive into the desert when he should have used an iron as Hunter Mahan did. Despite questionable decisions, he dodged bullets against Mahan, who also didn’t seem sharp until the sixth when he took his first of three straight holes. McIlroy launched a comeback, but it was for naught because of his earlier mistakes ... McIlroy takes another shot at this week’s Honda Classic ... If and when McIlroy does get the No.-1 ranking, it’s hard to go along with Johnny Miller who says he will own top spot for a long time. There’s just too much depth for that to happen ... Mahan is the first American to win this tournament in the past four years and the seventh consecutive U.S. player to win on tour this year ... In the shadow of McIlroy’s quest for the top ranking in the world, Mahan jumps from 22nd to ninth, a personal best.
There are two kinds of fans. Golf fans and Tiger Woods fans. The multitudes in the latter group lost interest in the Accenture Match Play Championship when their man lost in the second round. Golf fans revelled in the implications for No. 1 ... Woods says he can fix his putting problems in a day, but why has he been struggling with the putter all season? Last week, Woods was fourth on tour in driving accuracy and eighth in greens in regulation, but in strokes gained while putting he was 180th. His three-putt avoidance left him 174th ... Another interesting Woods statistic is his final-round performance. He was seventh on tour last week in overall scoring average at 69.68, but he final-round scoring average was 75, which left him 153rd.