With a new attitude (no more club-breaking) and a new wife (thanks, Tinder!), Adam Hadwin, 29, is now a PGA Tour winner and will make his Presidents Cup debut this month. And the pride of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, is only getting better.
You won your first Tour event in March, at the Valspar Championship, near Tampa. But you first made news when you shot a 59 in January at the CareerBuilder Challenge.
That round was very much celebrated, very much talked about. And it became the talk of the tournament.
Which of those 59 strokes at La Quinta Country Club stands out as your favorite?
On the 15th hole, a par 3, I hit a great tee shot to about 15 feet behind the hole, but I had a slick, downhill left-to-right putt. Earlier in my career, if I had a big moment like that, I would have three-putted. So I said to myself, “Just focus on the speed, hit a good putt, and if it goes in, it goes in.” And it went in. It was a key putt, because I was able to stay with my routine and keep doing what I had been doing all day.
You finished second to Hudson Swafford that week, by a shot. But it must have been a great learning experience.
It certainly was. I took everything I learned from that final round [at the Career-Builder] and built on it, tournament after tournament. Down the stretch at the Valspar, it helped. I felt ready. I was able to draw on coming close before. I felt more comfortable, like I belonged, which helped me win. That’s a good feeling to have out here.
Back at the 2016 Valspar, you had a very different experience. Your emotions got the better of you and you snapped a club.
You just had to bring that up. [Laughs]
Hey, we’ve all been there.
I know. And it was funny, going to Tampa and winning, considering where I was a year ago. I feel like each year on Tour, I’ve become a better player. I may not play better each week. I may not play certain events better than I did last year. But week to week, I’m learning, improving.
You were called a poor sport. Have you worked on changing your attitude?
Yes, more than anything. Since October, my attitude has been so much better. I feel at peace on the course. I’m much, much calmer. I’m able to accept bad shots much better. And it’s leading to better golf.
You’ve climbed the pro golf ladder, working your way up from the Canadian and Web.com tours to the PGA Tour. What helped you springboard to the elite level?
More than anything, just continued hard work. I found my way out here. It took me three years on the Web.com to get settled and go out and play well. And it was my third year [when I won on the Web.com Tour], and I won out here on my third year on [the PGA] Tour. So I think I understand the courses a bit more. I know what it takes, maybe, to win out here.
You live in British Columbia, and you were born in Saskatchewan. Do you take extra pride in reaching the Tour considering that in Canada, you have to toss the clubs in the closet for months at a time?
I actually didn’t spend that much time in Saskatchewan and Moose Jaw [where I was born]—just a couple of years. I grew up out west in Vancouver, which essentially has Seattle’s climate. So I’ve had years where I’ve played all year-round. But I’ve also had years where I’ve had three or four months off from playing, just like you said. I live in Phoenix now, and the weather there is just so perfect.
Moose Jaw and Phoenix probably have very different weather patterns.
[Laughs] Almost every day in Phoenix is ideal, and you feel guilty when you want to take a day off. I certainly didn’t get that feeling during the winter in Canada.
Is it true that you met your wife, Jessica, on Tinder?
Jess and I have always said that we met when I was in Wichita playing an event. And we always left it at that. We didn’t bring up how. But that’s the truth. We were Tinder-matched in Wichita, and we went out on a date. It’s been three years now since we met, and I don’t think we’ve gone a single day without talking. So there is hope! There is hope for all you guys out there on Tinder. [Laughs]
You like to cook. If you could make dinner for anyone, who would it be, and what would you prepare?
I love getting together with family. I like to do stuff on the grill—I play around with some marinades, especially with chicken and pork. Then you get family to try it and see what they think.
It’s always good to try new dishes out on the family. If they don’t like it, well—hey, they’re family! What are they gonna do, send it back?
That’s true. And they usually at least tell you good things, never that it’s horrible!
ONE THING I KNOW FOR SURE
In another life, I’d be a baseball player: I grew up wanting to play baseball. It was my first love. Golf is very individualistic, and I miss the team atmosphere—being in the locker room with all the guys. I mean, I never made it to a level [where I could play baseball professionally], but I say to anyone who asks: If I could do anything else, I’d play baseball.