TORONTO – Does winning $300Gs on Mother’s Day put added pressure on the gift you bring home to your wife?
Not according to David Hearn who finished tied for sixth at the Players Championship on Sunday.
“You would think so, but fortunately spending time with the family is most important for us right now as much as we travel,” Hearn said from his place in Florida.
That might sound like a guy who forgot to stop at the grocery store to pick up flowers, but in Hearn’s case we believe him. The Brantford native is coming off a busy stretch of four consecutive events and a week home with wife Heather and young daughter Ella is well deserved.
Hearn’s impressive finish at one of the season’s premier events moved him to 66th in the FedExCup standings and, more importantly, made him a near lock to secure his tour card for next season. That fact certainly isn’t lost on Hearn but his mindset remains the same as it was heading into the year.
“My goal at the end of the year is to feel like I’m playing better than I was the year before,” Hearn said.
“If I do a good job of trying to be competitive every week, I think that my money list rank, my FedExCup point rank, my world rank and all of those things will continue to get better.”
Unlike many players from golf factories such as Texas or Florida, the road to the tour from Canada is always unique.
Hearn’s parents had a place in Cheltenham, Ont., just north of Brampton, where David was born. When he was a toddler the family moved to Brantford, and just a few years later they were looking for a place for their young son to take up golf. Finding a place to play wasn’t easy, which is why when asked what the most important thing a Canadian youngster hoping for a career in golf needs, his answer is simple: “Access.”
The course that opened the door for Hearn was Pike Lake, in Minto township, north of Kitchener.
“That was the first course I played,” he said. “It was where my family spent time during the summer. They were a course where at seven years old they were willing to let me play golf.”
The road to the PGA from Pike Lake wasn’t easy but Hearn has proven over the past couple of seasons that difficulty brings out the best in him. Last week’s result at the notoriously difficult TPC Sawgrass and his T21 at last year’s U.S. Open at Merion show that Hearn is often at his best on demanding golf courses.
“I definitely feel like the trickier golf courses suit my game a little bit,” said Hearn, adding he has the demeanour to handle the ups and downs that tough courses bring.
“You know you’re not going to be perfect every day. When par is a good score that’s the type of course that I enjoy playing the most.”
With top tens for Hearn this year at the Honda Classic played at PGA National’s difficult Champion Course and at the Valspar Championship played at Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course, it’s clear he’s on to something.
“Maybe we just need to play some harder courses on tour,” cracked the easy-going Hearn.
After getting his feet wet and learning the game at Pike Lake, Hearn eventually played his junior golf out of Brantford Golf Club, where he is still a member. It’s there that Hearn met his wife-to-be Heather, who worked in the pro shop, in 2004.
Hearn’s penchant for being at his best when things are difficult also holds true off the course.
Just eight months after meeting Heather she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Hearn’s wife described this difficult time on an installment of pgatour.com’s always interesting, My Husband the Tour Pro.
“Even becoming a new PGA Tour member Dave found ways to be there for me when he couldn’t always physically be home during my treatment and recovery,” Heather wrote in the article. “I’ll never forget my mum saying, ‘He is the man for you. After I saw the ways he took care of you in your weakest life moment, I never had a doubt.’ ”
Now, almost a decade later, the couple from Brantford is fresh off their best week of the season and taking it easy in Florida enjoying life as parents of their toddler Ella.
“It’s a different type of joy in your life and we certainly have really enjoyed being parents so far and lots of fun years to come.”
DELAET WAS PULLING FOR HABS
Because it’s the Cup … or is it the tee?
Graham DeLaet and his caddy Julien Trudeau left a present for die-hard Bruins fan Keegan Bradley on the tee box Wednesday during a practice round at TPC Four Seasons for the Byron Nelson Championship.
Bradley found a tee with the words, “GO HABS” scrawled across it in marker. The massive sports fan quickly posted a pic on twitter.
There are four Canadians playing this week at the Byron Nelson in Irving, Texas: DeLaet, Mike Weir, Stephen Ames and Brad Fritsch.