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Sympatico Column: Matt Hill's Big Gamble

My latest Sympatico column is up — just as Matt Hill exceeds all other Canadians at the Memorial today. That column can be found on Sympatico’s sports site. Interesting to note that Hill always played Titleist clubs — but will be sponsored entirely by Nike now. Tough to make the move to the pros using the equipment you are familiar with. That said, it’ll be exciting if Hill can make an impact.

Here’s a taste:

Eight wins including an NCAA title – that’s what it took to convince Canadian Matt Hill that he should forgo his final year at college and take a shot at the PGA Tour.

The 21-year old from Bright’s Grove, Ont. announced earlier this week that he’d try to crack the PGA Tour as opposed to finishing college. It is a big gamble – but the soft-spoken Hill says he’s ready.
“Last year it felt like my game was ready but maybe I wasn’t quite ready for the lifestyle,” he explains. “I wanted to mature a little bit more as a person. And now I feel I’m ready for a new challenge.”
A new challenge indeed. Hill will have eight PGA Tour exemptions (one more than usual since he gets into this week’s Memorial given his NCAA win) to manage to crack the top 125 on last year’s PGA Tour money list. If he can manage that, Hill would gain access to golf’s grandest show. It is a tough road to travel. In 2009, rookie phenom Rickie Fowler came up just short in his quest to pull it off, and had to head to the tour’s qualifying school to secure his playing privileges. Of course some have made it – like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Justin Leonard. But since 1980 only six have managed the feat. It isn’t impossible, but next to it.

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Jeff Lancaster

Jeff Lancaster is the Publisher of CanadianGolfer.com.

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