David Hearn: My Olympic experience exceeded my expectations

David Hearn tees off on the 16th hole in the first round at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Throughout the season, Canadian golf stars Adam Hadwin, David Hearn and Graham DeLaet will check in with to provide readers with candid insights as they compete on the PGA Tour.

It’s been a week now, and I’ve had time to reflect on the experience I had playing in the Olympics. It was amazing—such a great experience. I was so lucky to be able represent Canada. And I have nothing but good things to say about my Olympic experience.

I think there was a lot of attention put on the problems with the games, and specifically golf, heading into the Olympics, but once we got down there everything was fantastic and first-rate. We arrived Friday morning for the Opening Ceremonies and it really sunk in that we were part of the games, and that sense of pride of being a Canadian representing my country. Throughout our time in Rio we stayed in the athletes’ village and it was amazing and a unique experience.

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Spending time with the other athletes was one of the highlights for me. We didn’t have TVs in our rooms, so we spent some of our time watching sports in an athlete lounge or the lobby of our building, and that gave us an opportunity to meet the other athletes and learn about their sports. We got a sense of how they qualified and trained. It was unique because we spend a lot of time on the PGA Tour with other golfers, so we don’t get to meet other athletes and get that perspective. We met up with the Rugby 7 girls, and went and saw badminton. It was incredible to get to meet other athletes from across Canada.

Since golf has not been part of the Olympics for more than a century, the other athletes had questions about our sport and its place in the games. But we felt really at home and I think golf will be a great part of the Olympics going forward.

Neither Graham [DeLaet] nor I played as well as we’d like. But there were still a lot of things I’d take away. There was a sense of community that I’ll always remember and when it comes down to the competition, it wasn’t like any other golf tournament I’ve ever played. It was completely unique. There was a competition for those trying to medal on Sunday, but even those who didn’t medal had a great understanding of what it meant to be an Olympian. You are the best in the country and you are there representing it, and getting there is a victory on its own.
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Now I’m home and finishing my year on the PGA Tour with the FedEx Cup. On the outside looking in, it might appear my season hasn’t matched my past few years. But my goals at the start of the year were to figure out my switch from a long putter to a conventional putter, make the Olympics, and make the FedEx Cup. I’ve achieved all of those things and I think it is the start of a lot of positive energy going forward. I almost feel like I might be ahead of where I expected to be at this time, and I’ve put a steady foundation for my game. And I’m in a position where if I can get hot, I can have a good few weeks in the playoff.

I think the players have really come to enjoy the FedEx playoffs. It pays to play well early, and make a run at the whole FedEx Cup. I’m preparing for this week like a lot of other weeks, but if I can get on a little bit of a run I can be in East Lake for the Tour Championship. It’s been a busy year and I’m really excited about the playoffs and knowing that next year there won’t be nearly as many question marks. My goal is to build on this year and have more competitive events next year.

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