After a rough result at last week’s Canadian Open, David Hearn got this week off to a great start Monday at the Brantford Golf and Country Club.
Hearn, who missed the cut at the Open, normally would be gearing up to play another PGA Tour event.
But instead he was back home to host the 2016 David Hearn Foundation Charity Classic in support of the Alzheimer Society of Canada. After raising $120,000 a year ago, organizers hoped to donate about $150,000 this year.
“I think we’ve done a great job so far,” Hearn said early Monday morning before golfers began arriving at the country club.
“When I first got involved with this tournament and started hosting it, we were raising $25,000 or just over that.
“We’ve grown it to a pretty good number right now but I think we can continue to do better and gain awareness and raise more funds.”
In the past, the tournament has taken place at courses outside of the area. But, after forming his foundation a year ago, Hearn thought it would be a good idea to host the tournament at his home course.
With 144 golfers registered, one of Hearn’s hosting duties included hitting tee shots Monday from No. 8 for all 36 foursomes.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to meet everybody who is here and came out to support the event,” said the 37-year-old.
“It’s fun hitting some tee shots. Last year, I actually holed one of them. It was kind of cool.”
Hearn didn’t count that ace towards the eight official ones he’s recorded – the first as a teenager playing a high school event for North Park Collegiate at the Oaks of St. George and his most recent last year on the PGA Tour in Memphis.
He could have used a hole-in-one at the Open.
Hearn missed the cut at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville after finishing at five-over-par with rounds of 74 and 75. Not qualifying for the final two rounds was disappointing after his performance a year ago when he led after 54 holes but wound up third behind winner Jason Day.
“I just didn’t have very good control of my ball last week, tee to green,” he said.
“The course was playing so firm and fast. And, with the wind conditions, I just didn’t give myself enough birdie opportunities.
“I’m pretty disappointed I couldn’t squeak out the weekend and play some more golf.”
Hearn would love to be playing this week as the world’s best golfers travel to Springfield, N.J., to play in the PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club, the final major of 2016. It’s the first time since 2012 that Hearn did not qualify to play in at least one of the four majors during a season.
“It’s just one of those years, I guess,” he said.
“I’ve played real steady golf this year. (But) I haven’t had a lot of top-10 finishes and I haven’t been in the mix a lot. That’s probably part of the reason I haven’t played in any majors.
“I feel like my game is as good as it has been in years and I’m hoping to get in all four next year.”
Hearn will get a chance to rest because his next competition will be Aug. 11-14, when he will represent Canada at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Hearn and Graham DeLaet will try to defend the gold medal George Lyon won for Canada in 1904, which was the last time golf was in the Olympics.
Hearn, who said he is a longtime fan of the Olympics, will attend the opening ceremonies on Aug. 5 and take in some of the other events, such as swimming, diving and track and field.
“I’m going to go down there, try to soak in some of the atmosphere and try and really enjoy the experience,” said the University of Wyoming graduate.
“I’m going to have a few days there to watch some of the other athletes and support some of our other Team Canada members. It’s going to be really neat to get a chance to go down there and experience what other athletes go through and how they prepare and get ready to compete at that level.
“We have four majors (in golf) every year and World Golf Championships and other big, big golf tournaments every year. For these athletes, this is as big as it gets.
Hearn praised Golf Canada for keeping golfers informed of the risks and precautions they need to take with regards to the Zika virus and security issues in Rio.
After the Olympics, Hearn will finish his PGA season. Currently sitting 78th in the FedEx Cup playoff rankings – he’s 94th on the money list with $933,589 in earnings – Hearn’s goal is to get through The Barclays, Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship so that he can be one of the top-30 points leaders to compete in the Tour Championship.
“It’s been a goal of mine for years – I want to be a part of that Tour Championship,” said Hearn, who has made it as far as the BMW but never the final tournament.
“Heading down to the Olympics will be good, then I’m going to play the Wyndham and FedEx Cup. Hopefully, I can get my game in shape and get on a nice little roll so I can have some good events when it matters the most for the playoffs.
“I’m looking forward to that.”