Hadwin at the Masters: Preparing for the greatest week in golf

Adam Hadwin tees off on the second hole during the final round of the Valspar Championship golf tournament Sunday, March 12, 2017, at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor, Fla.
Adam Hadwin tees off on the second hole during the final round of the Valspar Championship golf tournament Sunday, March 12, 2017, at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor, Fla. AP Photo/Mike Carlson

Periodically throughout the Masters, Canadian PGA Tour winner Adam Hadwin will check in with readers to talk about making his first appearance at Augusta National in golf’s first major of 2017.

I’ve never been to Augusta National, where the Masters is held. I’ve always told myself the first visit I’d make was when I was invited to play in the tournament. When I won the Valspar Championship at the start of May, I not only had a victory on the PGA Tour, but I also received a spot at the Masters.

To be honest, I’m doing my best not to make too much of going to Augusta. I’ll play my first round on Sunday, and it is a golf course everyone knows, whether through a video game or on television. Recently I received a note from a friend who has played Augusta a number of times and he told me it took him a few visits to Augusta before he got comfortable being there, and felt that was a mistake on his part.

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He said that I have to avoid becoming intimidated by the course and the tournament, adding that if I play well then I’ll do just fine. My take is you can’t be overwhelmed by the fact it is the Masters and my goal is to prepare for the tournament like it is just another week on tour. I want to enjoy the experience and recognize that just because I’m a rookie at the Masters doesn’t mean I can’t continue to play as well as I have coming into the tournament.

It is interesting that this is the first time three Canadians (me, Mike Weir, and Mackenzie Hughes) have played the Masters in the same year since the 1960s. But I don’t think that matters. It is special whether you’re the lone Canadian or there are 10 Canadians. That said, it is cool to be part of history. And I think it’ll be a lot of fun. That’s my goal for the week—to have fun and play well.

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Once I’m there I have a Tuesday match scheduled with Mike Weir and Mackenzie Hughes. Mike texted the two of us and asked if we wanted to play. I don’t think he’s prepared for all the questions we have. Any time you get to play with someone who’s won it in the past — and won it with a game that focuses on precision over power — it means we’ll learn a lot. Mike didn’t overwhelm the course, and we’ll get a sense of how you can play it with a more nuanced approach. But even then, you take what you learn and apply it to your specific game—and everyone has their own unique style they bring to each course.

One thing I’m really looking forward to is the par three contest that is held on Wednesday. I’m going to have my new wife, Jessica on the bag. We’ll have a great time. It is like a honeymoon gift instead of going to Bora Bora, which we had to cancel when I got into the Masters. Instead of a honeymoon, Jessica gets to put on a white jumpsuit and carry my golf clubs. I’m sure she’ll love it… assuming, of course, that we go back to Bora Bora for our real honeymoon.

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I told people in the months leading into the Masters that I’d have to do something pretty special to be invited, and I managed to pull off the one thing that got me a spot in the tournament. Now I’m just looking forward to showcasing the game I have that got me there and see how it stacks up.

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