Yesterday was once again a pretty busy day, with vandalism to one of the greens, lots of people, and a split field designed to get all of the players off the course by 3 pm pacific, so the television cameras could catch all the action.
The story of the day was Abbotsford, BC’s Adam Hadwin. I wrote about him for Golfdigestcanada.ca (the full story is here — an excerpt is below):
“Really who am I?”
That was the question Abbotsford, B.C. golfer Adam Hadwin asked a crowd of reporters following his 2-under third round of 68 at the RBC Canadian Open that sees him alone in second place. The answer? He’s one of only a handful of Canadians to have a realistic chance to win the country’s national open since Montreal’s Pat Fletcher won the tournament in 1954.
“I’m a Canadian Tour player – I’m not a PGA Tour star,” Hadwin said after walking off the course having made five birdies against three bogeys. “I don’t find it surreal because I feel I belong here. I just needed the opportunity to get out here. I think I kind of proved that today.”
Hadwin’s swaggering version of golf captured the imagination of the throngs of fans at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club, as well the respect of PGA Tour veteran Scott McCarron, who played alongside the Canadian.
McCarron first noticed Hadwin earlier in the week, and became so intrigued by his simple golf swing that he grabbed his video camera to record it.
“He has a beautiful swing,” McCarron said. “I was very impressed. He came out firing at pins and making birdies. He handled today very, very well and if he can do the same things tomorrow, he’ll be fine. He’s going to have a long career ahead of him – he’s a good player.”
Can Hadwin maintain the pace he’s set, or will be wilt under the collective history and attention? That was the discussion of a number of golf writers last night who went for dinner in downtown Vancouver, including ScoreGolf managing editor Jason Logan, the CBC’s Peter Robinson, ScoreGolf editor Bob Weeks, CanTour development manager Scott Pritchard and Sympatico Sports editor Matthew Parkinson. Logan thought Hadwin might just be brazen and confident enough to enjoy the attention and pull off a win. Or he could shoot 75 and finish in 12th. That would be a shame. I’d rather have the big story than have to write about Kris Blanks winning the tournament.
The other notable name I scribbled about yesterday was, well, John Daly. Only a day after concluding his round with a 4-putt, Daly shot 3-under to enter the final day T5 and with a shot to win. I wrote about the interest in Daly for Sympatico. I’m always fascinated that people still care about washed up golfer who no longer makes cuts, isn’t particularly nice to the fans (he blows past way more autograph seekers than he signs for), storms past reporters if anything in his round goes wrong and generally forgets that he’s only here because he begged RBC to let him in via Twitter. Anyway, here’s a taste of my piece:
For more than a decade, John Daly has been lost in the wilderness of alcoholism, gambling addiction, failed marriages, and trouble with both the law and sponsors. His life became such a made-for-TV reality show that inevitably the Golf Channel actually created one. He appeared at the 2007 RBC Canadian Open with scratches on his face, allegedly from an assault by one of his now ex-wives. It was in Vancouver, site of this week’s top Canadian professional golf tournament, that Daly began uncontrollably shaking during the 1998 Greater Vancouver Open, and later broke into tears on the 15th green.
Lost in the headlines, divorces and drama is the fact that, once upon a time, Daly was one of the game’s biggest stars, a man who could overwhelm a golf course with his length and make birdies with his all-world short game.
Yesterday, at least for nine holes, Daly once again appeared to have the touch that won him five PGA Tour titles, including two majors. After four-putting the final green in his second round, and storming by assembled reporters hoping to get a comment about his latest comeback, Daly shot 4-under 31 on his back nine in the third round to fly up the leaderboard. As unlikely as it might have seemed earlier in the week, Daly, who was given a sponsor’s exemption into the tournament, finished the day tied for fifth, only three shots off the lead at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club.