Winning PGA TOUR events in dramatic fashion is becoming a thing for Nick Taylor.
Last year, the 36-year-old Taylor, an Abbotsford, B.C. native, sank a 72-footer for eagle on the fourth playoff hole to become the first Canadian since 1954 to win their national championship, the RBC Canadian Open.
And last week Taylor sank an 11-footer for birdie on the second playoff hole to beat Charley Hoffman and win the WM Phoenix Open.
To get to that point at the raucous and rowdy TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course, Taylor birdied two of his last three holes in regulation, including stuffing a 167-yard 9-iron to six feet for birdie on the par-3 16th “Coliseum” hole, aka “The loudest hole in golf.”
He and Hoffman both had finished regulation play at 21-under 263. Taylor’s tally included a record-tying 60 in the opening round.
It is Taylor’s fourth win on the PGA TOUR.
Taylor is a two-time PNGA Men’s Player of the Year (2008, 2009) and former No. 1-ranked player in the world while playing for the University of Washington.
Last year he became a national hero in winning the RBC Canadian Open, and now, with his win in Phoenix, he is becoming a tour legend, known for stepping up when the pressure is greatest and the spotlight is brightest.
The quiet and unassuming Taylor typically hangs back in the day-to-day life on tour, but get him in front of a crowd and he locks in, pours it on.
“He’s just got it, man. Either you do or you don’t,” said Taylor’s caddie Dave Markle, who played against Taylor in a 2008 Canadian Amateur quarterfinal match; Taylor won, but they’ve been good friends since. “I’ve been fortunate to know him since he was the No. 1 amateur in the world, and he had it then. When he gets himself in the mix, he knows how to do it, and it’s no different out here. He’s just a competitor. He’s fiery, he wants it, and he’s pretty good, and he just gets it done.”
In winning the Phoenix event this year, Taylor avenged last year’s runner-up finish in the tournament, where he matched Scottie Scheffler’s final-round 65 but finished two shots back. Scheffler had been trying for three wins in a row in Phoenix, but Taylor held him off this time, with Scheffler finishing tied for third, three shots back.
“I think you go back a year when he was in the final group here, and he went toe-to-toe with Scheffler down to the very end,” said fellow Abbotsford resident and PGA TOUR player Adam
Hadwin. “Since then, he’s proven himself in the biggest moments. I think he’s proven to be one of the best in the world in the last year, for sure.”
With this win, Taylor is projected to reach No. 26 in the world, the highest position of his career, and he’s building his case for a spot on the International Team at this fall’s Presidents Cup, which will be held at Royal Montreal in his native Canada.
We’re sure there is more coming up for Mr. Taylor.