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What you need to know about COVID-19: August 4, 2020
For a few blissful weeks, the PGA Tour had the toy department to itself and everyone, including Adam Hadwin, enjoyed life as the only game in town.
But it’s never far from you these days, even in the idyllic world of professional golf, and the tour was snapped back to reality when six players tested positive for COVID-19 in the space of two weeks.
With its season hanging in the balance, the tour managed to get through last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit without further disruption and it’s now setting up in Ohio for this week’s Workday Charity Open.
But those positive tests left a stark reminder of what’s at stake in the age of COVID-19. The tour players are largely young, largely athletic and seemingly protected from the grave dangers of the novel coronavirus. Except they’re as vulnerable as anyone and that reality has been drummed home with the subtlety of a sledgehammer.
“It was a wake-up call,” Hadwin says from just outside Columbus. “We’re not immune to it and knowing someone who has it hits home a little harder.
“I think we’ve tightened up over the last couple of weeks. You see more guys wearing masks around the clubhouse. There’s less interaction and fist bumps. I mean there wasn’t much before but it’s changed.”
“The most awkward place on the course is after a round. It’s like, good playing and we’ll see you around. Then you’re gone. It’s still strange.”
And the strangest part is it’s starting to feel familiar.
The tour is now a month into its new normal and Hadwin, the Abbotsford product who’s coming off a T4 in Detroit last week, says players are adjusting to their work environment. Sure, there are a few things to get used to; the complete lack of a gallery pops to mind. But when your routine has been altered, you simply create a new one, even if it isn’t that simple.
“The golf isn’t any different,” Hadwin says. “Inside the ropes it’s the same game.
“But the week looks different. It’s a new process. Do we warm-up in the hotel room? What time do we get to the course? What can we do in the locker-room because they don’t want us hanging around? You have to figure these things out. It’s like being a rookie on tour again.”
Maybe, but it hasn’t exactly shown up in his performance. Now 32, Hadwin has quietly enjoyed a solid season in which he’s recorded three top-10 finishes, made his second straight appearance at the Presidents Cup and sits 36th on the money list with just over $1.5 million in earnings despite playing in only 11 events.
Off the course, meanwhile, things have been even more eventful. In early January, Hadwin and wife Jessica welcomed their first child, daughter Maddox, into the world. To that point Hadwin had recorded a second at the Safeway Open and a T4 at the Shriners, results that prompted Ernie Els to pick him to the International side at the Presidents Cup, and he seemed poised for a breakthrough season.
Now? Who knows. But Hadwin has demonstrated a certain resiliency in his six years on the tour and if a larger notoriety has eluded him, he’s forged an identity as a grinder. In those six years, he’s had one win, the 2017 Valspar Championship , but he has 22 career top-10s and more than $10 million in earnings.
“I’ve had ebbs and flows,” he says. “But I’ve never seen down, down times where I lost confidence.
“There are times I haven’t played as well and had to pull myself up. I don’t focus on the outside stuff, changing your caddie or equipment or your swing coach. It’s always an inner look. What can I do to get better?”
He’s also enjoyed the ride every step of the way. Throughout his career he’s been available to the media on both sides of the border. Hadwin has a lively Twitter presence and keeps up a running banter with his wife on the platform. During the second round of the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head, he wore a microphone and stumbled into a bit of drama when he called a penalty on himself in a bunker.
In short, he enjoys virtually every aspect of being a tour player and that comes in handy after a three-putt or a run of bogeys.
“I mean, I love golf,” he says “I love being out there and I love competing. I just try to enjoy it as much as possible. There are so many things going on in the world right now. But I have an amazing wife. We started our family together. Personally, it’s been a great time.”
The rest of the year sets up as an interesting adventure for Hadwin. Owing to the pause over the pandemic, the PGA has been pushed back to early August, the U.S. Open is scheduled for September and the Masters for November. The Open and the Masters are being played on dates that would normally be the early part of the 2020-21 season but, as you may have detected, things aren’t exactly normal these days.
“We’re back playing golf,” Hadwin says. “That’s all that matters.”
At least that part hasn’t changed.
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