Player's Take: Taylor Pendrith
August 07, 2019
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Taylor Pendrith became the first Canadian to win on the Mackenzie Tour since 2016. (Zenon Andryo/Mackenzie Tour)
It seemed like it was only a matter of time for Taylor Pendrith to find the winner’s circle on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada – it just took a little longer than everyone assumed.
Pendrith won his first Mackenzie Tour title Sunday at the 1932byBateman Open in Edmonton, Alberta – after a Sunday 62, a course record – and looks primed to return to the Korn Ferry Tour.
The long-hitting Pendrith came out of Kent State University to much fanfare, not unlike teammates Corey Conners and Mackenzie Hughes. But while Hughes and Conners have gone on to win on the PGA TOUR, Pendrith has battled a myriad of injuries (some weirder than others) and had to rebuild his game after finally getting healthy again.
With his win in the rearview, Pendrith spent a few minutes with PGA TOUR Digital, chatting about the emotional roller coaster he’s been on the last three years, his support system, how his win came to be, and how close he came to playing professional baseball.
The one (injury) in the palm was definitely weird. It was very frustrating; I couldn’t even hold a golf club with that palm injury. It was basically like a marble was in my hand. Every time something touched it, it would be like shocking pain. It could happen to anybody, you just have to deal with it. It was very frustrating because it was an important time in my golf career – getting Korn Ferry Tour status early on in my pro career and ultimately not being able to play the way I was capable of put a stall on things. But I’m feeling good now and I feel like my game is getting back to how I remember it being.
The last four tournaments have been great. I feel very comfortable out there and I have a different mindset like, ‘I’m going to try to win every tournament.’ I was trying to do that in the past but my game wasn’t as sharp as it was, probably because I couldn’t practice the way I wanted to, and I was just faking it, honestly. Now I feel really good and I tee it up every week trying to win. I play to win. I play aggressive. I played very aggressive on Sunday and I never let up and that’s what you have to do out here for sure. Most weeks you have to take it really low and (last) week the golf course was awesome. It was challenging, windy and the rough was long. I just tried to make as many birdies as I could and I didn’t ever let up.
I scored really well the first three rounds in Edmonton since I hit it really good but I just had a couple of sloppy putts – I had a couple of three-putts and even a four-putt earlier in the week. I hit a lot of good wedges and didn’t make a ton of putts the first three days, so I knew if I kept hitting fairways and limiting my mistakes and being smart on the greens, the putts would eventually start falling. I hit a lot of close wedge shots on Sunday and I putted really well. I made a couple good par saves but it was very stress-free and I didn’t make too many putts I shouldn’t have but I made a lot of putts inside 15 feet.
I didn’t realize that Adam Cornelson was the last (Canadian) when he won in 2016. There is a ton of Canadian talent on this Tour and if we don’t win we’re all rooting for the other guys to win. It used to be the ‘Canadian’ Tour, and there is a ton of support for Canadian golfers out here. It feels really good to get my first win. The support in Edmonton was great. There were tons of people who came out and watched and cheered me on. It was awesome.
The fan support is great. Like at TPC Toronto a ton of my buddies came out, a ton of people from Listowel as well, which was great. It’s a small town and it’s a golf community. It’s a golf town with Corey (Conners) being from there and having his success. I’ve hung out in Listowel a whole bunch (note: Pendrith’s girlfriend is from Listowel and is friends with Conners’ wife, Malory) and know all those people very well. To see them all come out and support me and cheer me on and try to help get me to the next level is great. At the end of the day, I’d like to be out there playing with Corey as well.
When I was 17 or 18 I knew it was going to be golf, not baseball. I didn’t play a (golf) tournament until I was 15, turning 16, and I played on the Canadian Junior Golf Association and I think I won five or six times. That was really the first time I ever played competitive golf. I started playing in some bigger tournaments in Ontario, and I was competing. I wasn’t up near the top but I loved golf. It was all on you. Baseball and hockey, but mostly baseball was my thing. I was a pretty good baseball player and wanted to continue with that. But when I was 17 I stopped playing competitive baseball and focused more on golf. I had to take a year off after high school to play in more tournaments and get some college interest. Herb Page (from Kent State) found me and it’s been a great journey ever since then.
I thought I was a pretty good pitcher. I got a letter in Grade 10 from a recruiting agency to fly me out to school to play baseball, and then I got one in Grade 11 for the same thing for golf (laughs). I had to pick and I felt like I could be better at golf than baseball so I chose that. I love baseball. I play once a year with my buddies at home and it’s always fun. It was definitely the first passion of mine.
This year I’m trying to have more fun away from the golf course. Golf is hard on your mental game always. A round can really grind you down, so it’s nice to get off the golf course and do something fun with your buddies or go out for dinner and just hang out and not take it too seriously.
At the end of the day, it’s just golf. Yes, you’re trying to win a golf tournament, but your mind has to be right. I feel very calm out there, very relaxed, and very confident too. I think the mental side of the game has definitely improved for me (since 2015). It was pretty easy to get down on myself when I was going through those issues a couple years ago. Now that I’m feeling good and my game is good, it’s nice to have the mind at ease and go out there and have fun.