by Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf
(Note: This article is courtesy British Columbia Golf, and first appeared on their website.)
Adam Hadwin has the second chance he so desperately wanted and is determined to make the most of the opportunity afforded him by Ernie Els. Ever since dropping his Sunday singles match 2&1 to Phil Mickelson at the 2017 Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey, Hadwin has been yearning for a return engagement to the biennial matches.
The 32-year-old Abbotsford product got his wish when Els, the International captain for next month’s matches in Melbourne, Australia, made him one of four captain’s picks.
Hadwin got the news in a Monday phone call from Els and then had to keep quiet until Els made it official in a late Wednesday news conference. “When I saw his name flash up on my iPhone I instantly got this sinking feeling,” Hadwin said. “I honestly had no idea which way he was going to go. There was a lot of really good talent this year and I know his decision was extremely difficult. I am happy that it was a good phone call for me.”
Hadwin went 0-2-1 in three appearances at the 2017 Presidents Cup. He and Hideki Matsuyama halved a Friday fourball match with Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed. Hadwin and Adam Scott dropped a Saturday foursomes match 4&3 to Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar. He then lost that Sunday singles match to Mickelson in what was a tough week for the International team, which lost the matches by a lopsided score of 19-11.
Hadwin described the experience as bittersweet. “It was pretty deflating to be honest,” he said. “It was such a high being there and being part of the team and being around some of the best players in the world is an experience I am never going to forget. But certainly we left a lot to be desired on the golf course.
“With this Presidents Cup approaching and me starting to play some good golf again, I was just hungry for a second chance. That’s not how I would like my contribution to the Presidents Cup to be remembered. I am looking forward to having a second chance at Royal Melbourne as part of a incredible International team and hopefully we can right some of the wrongs we have had in the past and do captain Els proud.”
Hadwin went a long way toward locking up his spot on the team with a strong start to the PGA TOUR’s Fall schedule. He finished second at the Safeway Open in Napa, Calif., in late September and then tied for fourth the following week at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.
During a TV interview, Hadwin gave a little shout-out to Els after that finish in Las Vegas. “Yeah, I might have been a little cheeky there on Sunday,” Hadwin said with a chuckle. “But I was coming off two good weeks and was feeling pretty good about myself and just thought I’d throw that out there. I didn’t hear from Ernie afterwards and to be honest it was probably for the better. It just allowed me to keep focused on what i was doing and trying to play good golf. I didn’t really want it in my head either way he was leaning. I just wanted to focus on what I could do and let my golf game do the talking.”
Fellow Canadian Corey Conners made things interesting with a couple of good finishes at two recent events in Asia, but Els opted to go with Hadwin’s experience. “I just want to say that between him and Corey Conners it was a very, very tight race,” Els said. “One of the most difficult calls I had to make was to Corey. He was very gracious and wished us good luck going into the matches.
“I just love Adam’s game,” Els said. “I have played with him numerous times. . .He is just very solid all around. There is not really any weakness there. He drives it very consistently well, he’s a good iron player and is a very good putter on the greens. He played once before (in 2017) and I watched him. He didn’t flinch, he kept putting his hand up to play and I really like that. I am very excited for Adam to be on the team.”
Not as excited as Hadwin is to be on it. “I am ready to play with anybody and in any situation,” Hadwin said. “I feel like my game suits any situation as well. And so I am just excited to get down there and I am ready to play with whoever the captain and the assistants want to put me with.”
Australian Jason Day, Sungjae Im of South Korea and Joaquin Niemann of Chile were Els’ other picks. Im and Niemann are both 21 and their additions will make this the youngest Presidents Cup team in the history of the event. Speaking of history, it has not been kind to the International team since the matches began in 1994. Of 12 matches played, the United States has won 10 of them. The Internationals have just one win and one match was tied. Next month’s matches go Dec. 12-15 at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
United States captain Tiger Woods made his selections late Thursday, including himself on the team along with Tony Finau, U.S. Open Champion Gary Woodland and Patrick Reed.
by Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf