David Hearn: Wrapping my head around the wrap-around PGA Tour season

David Hearn hits from the 16th fairway during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament in Orlando, Fla., on March 17, 2016.
David Hearn hits from the 16th fairway during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament in Orlando, Fla., on March 17, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Phelan M. Ebenhack)

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.

For a lot of golf fans, the sport never really stops.

The FedEx Cup playoffs end and a new PGA Tour season starts. I understand why people have a hard to distinguishing one year from the next, but I don’t think of it that way when I’m establishing my goals. I like to project things over a 12-month period, and look at how I’ve improved.

READ MORE: My Olympic experience exceeded my expectations

This past year there’s been a lot of changes for me. In 2016 I had some goals—to compete for Canada at the Olympics, to make the Tour Championship and figuring out how to switch from a long putter to a short one. I nearly achieved all of those goals.

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Looking at where I am now, I’m very happy with my game. I’ve been playing great golf all summer long but wasn’t getting the results to demonstrate that. I had the great run in the FedEx Playoffs, and my tie for 8th at the Deutsche Bank Championship was a big confidence boost.

However, it is interesting to think I’m now solidly in the veteran category, having first cracked the tour more than a decade ago. Perhaps because of that you won’t see my schedule vary much. Ideally I’d like to get off to a good start and add majors and World Golf Championships.

I know my game is good enough to play wherever I end up, but it is nice to know with my FedEx finish, I’m in all of the invitationals, like the Jack Nicklaus’ tournament at Muirfield.

I want to look at each year and see that I’ve gotten better. I’m going to continue to work hard each year, and if I do, I believe the other goals—World Golf Championships and majors—will fall into place. If you analyze my game you’ll see it isn’t much different than when I first got my start on the tour a decade ago.

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READ MORE: Mastering the art of putting is a process

I’d love to find 10 more yards, but I doubt that’ll happen. It is about honing your short game skills, working on course management and giving yourself opportunities. Look at someone like Zach Johnson or Jerry Kelly—those are the kind of players who I model myself after. And there’s no reason that if I continue to play to my strengths, there’s no reason I can’t play well and win well into my forties.

It is great to be joined by more Canadians on the PGA Tour this year, with both Brad Fritsch and Mackenzie Hughes on tour.

Mackenzie and I had a similar path to the tour. Like Mackenzie, I was 25 when I broke in, and I’d come off a great season on the Tour. I’ve spoken to Mackenzie and he’s a hard worker with all the skills. He’ll be successful, but I urged him to be patient and trust in his abilities.

It is easy to get out on the PGA Tour and see what other guys are doing and want to change things up. But he has the tools and he just needs to continue working.

When you look at it, when it comes to golf in Canada, we’re in a good spot. Brooke Henderson is doing very well on the LPGA Tour and there are six Canadians playing on the PGA Tour this year, and when Mike Weir tees it up it’ll be seven. In fact, I think you’re seeing some of the effect from Mike’s success in the past. These players were inspired by him, without doubt.


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