No. 17 at TPC Sawgrass is one of the signature holes on the PGA Tour. Although it’s just 137 yards to the Island Green, the hole is surrounded on almost all sides by water and has a tiny bunker in front of it, leading to many highlight-reel moments as frustrated golfers try to get their drives to stay on the green.
Adam Hadwin, however, doesn’t like to get too geared up for any one hole on any course.
“I can’t get hyped up for one hole over the other, I’ve got to play the entire golf course as it comes,” Hadwin said. “I know that sounds lame, but we have to play 18 holes in a round of golf, we can’t just get excited for one of them.
“It’s just another hole, and when you get there you pick a number, you pick club, and you try and hit a golf shot and you keep going from there.”
Hadwin, from Abbotsford, B.C., is one of three Canadians in the field at the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., and Nick Taylor, also from Abbotsford, will also be teeing off on Thursday when the first big event of the PGA Tour’s season begins.
Although Hadwin isn’t fazed by the infamous 17th hole, he does acknowledge it’s a thrill to walk up to it.
“When you’re walking down 16 and you look over to your right and you see the green and nothing else but water, you start thinking about it early. You know it’s coming,” Hadwin said. “My approach has always been, ‘Let’s just hit the green and try and two-putt.’ If I can stay away from the water, I can stay away from big numbers.”
Hadwin is the top Canadian in the FedEx Cup standings so far this season, sitting 29th with 490 points. Conners is 55th and Taylor is 123rd.
With 600 FedEx Cup points available at the Players Championship – most tournaments have 500 on the line – it’s an opportunity to shoot up the standings.
“It’s been a great season so far, I’ve had some good results, but this is the best field of the year,” Hadwin said. “It’s our [the players’] championship; it would do a lot to help me get back into the Masters, help me with my chances to make the Presidents Cup toward the end of the year.
“Obviously, the plan is to play well. wWe’ll see what happens Thursday through Sunday.”
Local forecasts call for partly cloudy skies on Thursday and Friday at TPC Sawgrass, but the weather will turn slightly for the weekend rounds, with scattered showers expected on Saturday.
Samantha Richdale of Kelowna, B.C., is one of five Canadians in the field at the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic in Winter Haven, Fla. She’ll be joined by Maddie Szeryk of London, Ont., Maude-Aimée Leblanc of Sherbrooke, Que., Hannah Hellyer of Stirling, Ont., and Toronto’s Christina Foster as North America’s second-tier professional women’s circuit begins its season on Friday. The tournament has been kind to Canadians in the recent past, with Sue Kim of Langley, B.C., winning it in 2015 and Richdale taking the title the next year.