B.C. back in the bigs with Hadwin and Sloan (and maybe Taylor)
Posted on 1st September, 2014 / Source: Brad Ziemer, Guest Contributor
"Get a Grip" Article by Guest Contributor Brad Ziemer, as featured in the September 2014 edition of the GolfBC eNews. Brad Ziemer covers the B.C. golf scene for the Vancouver Sun. He received Golf Canada’s Distinguished Service Award in 2013 and was also named the PGA of British Columbia’s Patron of the Year in 2013...
If it seems like it’s been an eternity since a British Columbian won on the PGA Tour, that’s because it has been. Well, almost. For the record, it was 22 years ago this month that Richmond native Richard Zokol won the 1992 Greater Milwaukee Open. Since then, B.C. has been blanked. Maybe that’s about to change.
By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard that Abbotsford’s Adam Hadwin and Roger Sloan of Merritt have locked up their PGA Tour cards for 2015. They did it by both finishing inside the top 25 on the Web.com Tour money list. Hadwin had basically clinched his spot in the top 25 many weeks ago, but put an exclamation mark on his year when he tied for second in the recent Web.com Tour regular-season finale in Portland. That performance pushed him all the way to No. 4 on the money list. Sloan had to sweat a little. Actually, a lot. He entered the Portland event at No. 23 on the money list and missed the cut. He then had to survive a nail-biting weekend to see if he could hang on to his top-25 spot. He did, finishing at No. 24.
No matter how he and Hadwin play during the four-event Web.com Tour Finals being played this month, they are assured of PGA Tour status next year. Both these guys have the talent to win on the big tour.
Hadwin oozes with confidence and will not be intimidated in the least by the PGA Tour’s bright lights. He’s already played in a handful of PGA Tour events, where he has performed well. Who can forget the performance he delivered at home when he tied for fourth spot at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club. From the moment I met Hadwin, I have sensed something special about this young man. We first crossed paths at the 2007 B.C. Amateur Championship at Morningstar Golf Course in Parksville. I knew he’d had a solid junior career and was one of many British Columbians playing collegiate golf south of the border.
Hadwin was attending the University of Louisville and in our first conversation we joked about golf not being quite as big a draw as basketball at Lousiville. Hadwin was contending at that year’s B.C. Amateur and as we stood in the parking lot at Morningstar after one of his rounds, I remember being totally impressed by this young man. He was confident, but not cocky. Well, maybe a little cocky, but in a good way. Hadwin didn’t win that week. He finished second to Mitch Gillis of Williams Lake, but went back to Louisville and finished off his senior season by winning the NCAA’s Big East Championship. He turned pro shortly afterward and his star has been rising ever since.
Sloan has flown under the radar a bit. Like Hadwin, he had a solid but not spectacular junior career. He played his collegiate golf at the University of Texas-El Paso, where he never won. But he got better every year and that’s sort of been the story with his pro career. He’s kept improving and got his breakthrough win at the Web.Com Tour’s only Canadian event, the Nova Scotia Open, in July. Sloan is smart -- he was class valedictorian in high school and at UTEP he served as president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Sloan doesn’t have Hadwin’s profile in part because he now resides full time in Houston, Texas, with his wife Casey, a former UTEP volleyball player. Hadwin, of course still calls Abbotsford home and spends a good deal of time in B.C. But Sloan has game and lots of it.
There’s still a chance for a third British Columbian to earn a PGA Tour promotion. Abbotsford’s Nick Taylor qualified for the Web.com Tour Finals and will try to grab one of the 25 remaining PGA Tour cards up for grabs. It’s funny how things work. Of the three, Taylor was by far the bigger collegiate star -- he won the Ben Hogan Award as the top collegiate golfer in the U.S. following his junior season at the University of Washington and for a time was the world’s top-ranked amateur. The transition from amateur to pro didn’t go as smoothly as most imagined for Taylor, but he now seems to have found his way. Wouldn’t it be great to see him make it a threesome of British Columbians on the 2015 PGA Tour.