Near miss on PGA card will benefit Hadwin

Adam Hadwin of Canada (R) will have to return again to the gruelling Q-school, albeit with a pass...

Adam Hadwin of Canada (R) will have to return again to the gruelling Q-school, albeit with a pass to the final stage. (REUTERS)

TIM MCKAY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:22 PM ET

Early in the season, Adam Hadwin said he would like to make it to the PGA Tour by virtue of his play on the Web.com Tour, and not have to rely on qualifying school.

But, after being gutted by James Hahn at last week's Web.com Tour Championship, the Abbotsford, B.C., native, who turns 25 on Friday, will have to return again to the gruelling Q-school, albeit with a pass to the final stage.

You have to feel for Hadwin, who fell agonizingly short of his PGA Tour card when Hahn -- with a clutch up-and-down on 18 -- knocked him down into third place when a second would have put him on the top tour for 2013. (It was classy that he stayed around to support and cheer on his compatriot and roommate Brad Fritsch, who was successful in earning his card).

But, finishing 30th on the money list in his rookie season on the Web.com Tour is no small feat and the experience will help him down the line, should he fail to advance through Q-school at the end of the month.

"If you're top 25 on this tour, it speaks a lot more volume than you just getting hot for three weeks and getting your card that way," Hadwin said as his 2012 campaign kicked off. "It's worth a lot more in my eyes, than just getting through Q-school."

And, almost cryptically after missing a couple of early cuts, Hadwin said that it didn't really matter as long as he finished strong.

"Really, I only have one goal this year and that's to be in the top 25 at the end of the year to get a PGA Tour card," said Hadwin. "It doesn't really matter how I get there."

In a season in which Hadwin made just 13 of 25 cuts, he damn near achieved his goal. You have to think that with his rookie season out of the way and knowing exactly what to expect, the young man will be full of confidence and perhaps a little more consistent in pursuit of his PGA Tour dream.

THE LOVE CONTINUES

The Phil Mickelson-Keegan Bradley love affair continues.

While the stars of the American side at the Ryder Cup this week admitted they're still hurting over the Sunday drubbing the U.S. took at the hands of the Europeans, they said there are some positives they have taken away from their time together.

"Looking back though, there was some good that came from it in that I had a great couple of days playing with Keegan as a partner," Mickelson said in a news conference for the World Golf Championships HSBC Championship in Guangdong, China. "We played some good golf early on and I saw some things where I can improve my game.

"I saw an opportunity to, if I could drive the ball the way Keegan did, I would really have some opportunities and chances to do something special in my career and have some of my best finishes."

So, the Golf Hall of Famer is going to learn from his young protege, a PGA Tour sophomore?

"It's the first I've heard of that. It's pretty unbelievable," said Bradley after hearing the praise of his partner, with whom he went 3-0 in Ryder Cup matches.

"You know, in the alternate"'shot format, I was putting Phil in some great spots, and Phil with a wedge or any sort of iron from the fairway is deadly. If he's got a wedge and it's outside five feet, I'm shocked.

"So I think he's going to try to focus in on getting the ball in the fairway more and in play, because he's the absolute best iron player I've ever seen. If he can do that more consistently, he'll win so many times more and he'll be competitive well past and in his 50s.

"But that's a huge honour to me that he would even say that to people ... it's actually kind of shocking to me right now."

NEW SWING FADES

The old cliche "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," certainly applies to Ryder Cup hero Martin Kaymer.

And it seems he's finally getting the message.

The former world No. 1, who decided that he needed to revamp his swing to be able to add a draw and not rely so much on his natural fade, had struggled over the past couple of years and it seems now he's back to what works.

"Yeah, I think to bury that topic for the next few years, we can say it's over, I'm done," Kaymer said at his HSBC Champions news conference. "I'm very happy the way I hit the ball and my fade is back, the natural shot."

Kaymer explained his tinkering at the Ryder Cup, before going on to sink the clinching putt for Europe:

"There was never really a problem. But every time I left Augusta, I was very frustrated, not because I had just missed the cut but the way I missed the cut, because I had no idea how it feels to hit a draw," he said. "So at that stage I was 25 and I thought I had a lot of years ahead of me and I don't want to live with that, just hitting a fade my entire life."

After his descent from No. 1 in the world to No. 35, where he stands at the moment, maybe Kaymer has decided it's better to fade away than go back to the drawing board.

SAUCY TALKS

Not everyone is on board with the new system of getting your PGA Tour card exclusively through the Web.com Tour.

Abbotsford, B.C., native James Lepp, currently a contestant on Golf Channel's Big Break, says it takes away an opportunity for guys who can't commit to playing golf full-time. Lepp didn't make it through the first round of Q-school this year, but he explained on his blog at his shoe company Kikkor Golf's site why he likes the format better.

"I wish they would stick with the old system! I'm sitting here running a golf shoe company, so I don't exactly have the time to slowly progress my way to the PGA Tour. I need the three week tournament to get hot in," Lepp wrote. "The rule change is a major reason why I decided to give it a go this past week. Unfortunately, it didn't pan out."

Lepp's latest post, entitled How Did Things Get So Saucy, and put up on Wednesday, explains the origins of his "Saucer Pass" style of chipping, something you'll be aware of if you're watching Big Break.

ON THE TEE

World Golf Championships

HSBC Champions

Mission Hills Golf Club, Olazabal Course (7,320 yards, par 72), Shenzhen, China.

* Tournament notable for who's not there. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy skipping after playing exhibition on Monday.

LPGA Tour

Mizuno Classic

Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club (6,506 yards, par 72), Shima, Japan.

* Winner of the last two tournaments, Suzann Pettersen, is skipping the event. Top five players, led by Yani Tseng, will be there.


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