June 15, 2017 8:53 pm

Adam Hadwin on U.S. Open: It takes all of your patience

Canada’s Adam Hadwin overcame a late double bogey to win the Valspar Championship for his first PGA Tour title and a trip to the Masters. (Mar. 2017)

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PGA Tour winner Adam Hadwin is one of two Canadians in this week’s U.S. Open at Erin Hills. He talks about his experience returning to one of golf’s most difficult tournaments. 

You know what to expect from a U.S. Open. There are no surprises.

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It’s going to be difficult because the United States Golf Association, which runs the tournament, loves to have a final score of around even par. With that in mind, they’re going to push the golf course. This is my third U.S. Open, so I have a good handle on what to expect—you have to go into it with lots of patience because bogeys and mistakes are going to happen. Success at a U.S. Open is about limiting your errors and getting yourself from point A to point B with the fewest mishaps.

READ MORE: Adam Hadwin at the Masters: As difficult a course as I’ve played

I’ve not played as well as I’d have liked in the weeks heading into the tournament. I’ve experienced some incredible high points this year, but the game is always a challenge and I’ve had to manage my expectations.

There was a stretch in Florida earlier this year where I was at the top of the leaderboard for a few weeks in a row, but you soon realize you’re not going to win every week. That’s made me even more impressed by players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, and Rickie Fowler, who are consistently at the top of the leaderboard. I can beat Ricky and Dustin—I’ve beaten them before. But I haven’t proven I can do it consistently yet and the next step is to make those incremental gains to the point where I’m contending seven or eight times a year. I know I have the game to do it, even if my performance hasn’t reflected that lately. To my way of thinking, it’s just a matter of getting it back to the basics and returning to what I was doing earlier in the year. It is little things that can make a difference, so I need to go out on the course and just relax.

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In fact, I believe a U.S. Open setup—tall rough, fast greens—lends its hand to my type of game. I’m typically a decent driver of the golf ball, and fairly strong around the greens. When you get onto difficult courses where players aren’t going to hit 80 percent of the greens, I feel I have an advantage. In a lot of ways, a U.S. Open is about the player who can save themselves from the occasional wayward shot and who can stay out of trouble the most.

I would say that I do a fairly good job of that. Now this year has been a little different as I haven’t driven the ball as well I’d like, but my irons been solid. I truly believe the way I play suits any course. I think my track record around the PGA Tour shows that. I’ve played well on short, tight courses like Colonial, and I’ve been in Top 10 going into the third round at Torrey Pines, which is a big, long course.

Erin Hills is going to be tough this week—there’s no question about it. But I think I’ve got the right mindset coming into the tournament—I want to have fun with the challenge the U.S. Open presents, and just play my game.

 

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