Finding the fairway: Life on the PGA Tour

January 15, 2015 11:30 am
Updated: January 17, 2015 2:18 pm

PGA Tour: When a golf tournament in Hawaii is like a business trip

File photo: Adam Hadwin hits his tee shot on the 14th hole during round two of the Frys.com Open at Silverado Resort and Spa on October 10, 2014 in Napa, California.

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Every week on Globalnews.ca Canadian golf stars Graham DeLaet and Adam Hadwin take readers behind the scenes of the PGA Tour, providing insights, perceptions and observations as they battle at the game’s biggest tournaments.

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There’s no way to make Hawaii sound anything less than great. Playing my first tournament on the PGA Tour in 2015 at Waialae Country Club near Honolulu this week is the kind of thing most people in Canada would kill to be doing when the country is cold, grey or covered in snow. Me too. But the one thing most people don’t recognize is that for me the weeks I’m travelling to play golf are about work, even when they take me to someplace super cool like Hawaii.

Think of it like a business trip. You might be flying somewhere exotic, but if you simply see the inside of a convention center it isn’t exactly as exciting as some might imagine.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a great life playing on the PGA Tour and am thankful and humbled for everything professional golf has allowed me to do. Pros on the PGA Tour have it a lot easier than those struggling on mini-tours or even the Web.com Tour, where I played last year. It’s a great job and I never take it for granted.

But people still misinterpret what a week is like for a player out here.

Take this week. I travelled on Sunday to get to Hawaii. Every Monday is a potential pro-am for me, the chance to make some money and see the course. Tuesday spent all day at the course—the only time I saw my hotel is when I left to go to the golf course and when I returned.

The way I look at it, I had to purposely plan something for Wednesday of this week or I wouldn’t take it off. You need some downtime, but it is easy to fall into the habit of practicing too much. You want to avoid that as well. That said, I did get to see the pool at the hotel—even if it was during a conference call with Canadian media at 7 a.m.

When I’m at a golf tournament in most cities all you see is the hotel and the golf course each week, and a few restaurants at night. I think anyone travelling for business would understand. Consider this—the days I have a morning tee time in a tournament I’m up at 6 a.m. to get through my warm up routine which will likely take an hour then play a round, which will take at least four and a half hours. After that you’ll grab something to eat. By the time that’s through, often I’ll recognize that something was slightly off with my game and hit the range again. When you’re done with the range it is late afternoon and then you hit the gym for 45 minutes.

Suddenly it is 4 p.m., and you’ve been at it for ten hours. The last thing you’re going to do when you’ve been on your feet all day is spend a couple of hours touring around a new city.

At least for me, I know I’m playing when I get to Hawaii. That’s not the case with all the players that graduated from the Web.com Tour. Look at Roger Sloan, another rookie from British Columbia, who managed to Monday qualify. That’s a tough way to go. You have to fly all the way to Hawaii hoping you’ll get in the event and be prepared to play the Monday qualifier. Hopefully you’ll get pulled out of that and get in the event. But that doesn’t always happen. Thankfully it isn’t a situation I’ve faced—even on the Web.com Tour. For the past few years I’ve had status that basically guaranteed my schedule. However, most golfers will tell you it is important to get into a rhythm—on and off the course. I understand that because when I travel playing tour golf I get into a routine—you travel on Monday, do your laundry and ironing and get ready for the week, play on Tuesday and practice on Wednesday and then play Thursday through Sunday, travel and start all over again. That works for me and makes the weeks go quickly.

But when you don’t know whether you’re getting into a tournament it is different. You travel Sunday, play Monday and if you don’t get into the tournament, now you’re left hanging around for a few days, and then head to the next event and doing it all over again.

Regardless, I’m in Honolulu for a purpose this week. It is about preparing for the golf tournament, whether it is Sioux Falls, Idaho or Hawaii. I’m not there to visit Hawaii—I’m there to win a golf tournament. And if that means the beach is near my room, but I’m tired—well then I simply won’t see the beach. I do what’s best for my game, even when you’re in a remarkable place like Hawaii.

Winner of the Web.com Tour money list in 2014, Adam Hadwin, from Abbotsford, BC, is a rookie on the PGA Tour.

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