Crawford’s Canada life: It was fun
September 14, 2020
By Aaron Crawford, Special to PGATOUR.COM
- September 14, 2020
Four tournaments in five weeks can go fast, and I can say that the Canada Life Series flew by. I wasn’t as successful as I would have hoped, but what a great ride at two awesome golf courses and playing alongside a bunch of terrific players. In a year when I didn’t think I would be playing any competitive golf at all, the Canada Life Series was exactly what I needed.
I began my final week of the Series playing in a pro-am at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley the day prior to the first round of the Canada Life Series Championship. I played with four guys who worked at Canada Life, and we had an awesome day. It was cold and rainy, and the weather was even a little miserable, but the company was great, and I think we made a pretty good day of it. I don’t know if our team score was quite where we wanted it to be, but at the end of the day, we were just out there having a good time and enjoying ourselves. I think we did that.
At the two TPC Toronto tournaments, I tied for 16th and then tied for 17th last week. So, at least I’m consistent. I just need to move up a few more spots. I felt I had a pretty awesome short game this past week, and my wedges were on fire. Every time I got a pretty good look, I felt like I made the most of it. My biggest issue in Toronto was getting the ball in play off the tee. When you’re in the rough, it makes golf a lot more difficult. In the first TPC Toronto tournament, I think I was in the fescue probably 30 times in the three days, and I was able to scrounge enough up to make something of it. Last week wasn’t all that different, kind of right up the same alley.
I’m not too shaken by my own play. It was definitely one of those could’ve-been-better, could’ve-been-worse weeks. I felt like I left some stuff out there, but I also feel like I made strokes up in other areas. That’s just how it is sometimes.
In Thursday’s second round, I did do something for the first time. Going into No. 17, I was at even-par, which is just not good enough to keep up with the guys who are going low. Off the tee, I had 155 yards into the par-3, and I hit a 9-iron. My ball landed probably at the 160-yard mark and spun back down the slope. It was probably two inches from going in but ended up about a foot-and-a-half outside. That was a little 2 on a par-3.
I then went to 18. I hadn’t hit that fairway yet, so I was just looking to commit to a drive and hit a little fade down the center of the fairway. I hit a really nice one. I had 115 yards to the back-left pin, and it was a little downwind. I planned to hit it about 110, and I threw it in there nicely. It landed maybe five feet right and pin-high, took a couple of hops forward, spun back and disappeared. It was my first time ending a round 2-2. Closing my day on that hole-out was an amazing feeling.
In the final round, on the first hole after I holed out from the fairway to finish the day before, I hit my first shot into the right fescue on the par-5. I hacked it out to 85 yards and hit a beautiful wedge shot that landed a couple feet short of the hole. It looked like it was going in, but then it spun back, lipped out and stopped three feet away. I almost had two hole-outs in a row, so that was pretty funny.
All in all, though, despite those successes where I made my fair share of birdies (and an eagle), I just had a few too many bogeys.
I did try to relax when I was off the course. I watched every Toronto Raptors playoff game. The overtime game on Wednesday night was just about as stressful as any round of golf I played last week. It was a great win but a sad end to the series two nights later when the Celtics won Game 7.
I also played Beacon Hall Golf Club, which was such a trip. I’m jealous of everyone who gets to play there every day. It is pristine. You have the yellow fescue and the most luscious, greenest fairways and greens. It’s just so cool looking.
During the Series, TPC Toronto was probably my favorite course. Though we only played one of the three at the property, I would have loved to play the other two courses. As far as views go, you’re not going to find a better one than on top of Bear Mountain, site of our first two tournaments.
As a professional golfer, I think we all know that getting one or two more playing opportunities to get us to the next level is sometimes all it takes, and that’s something that the Canada Life Series gave us. I know I’m going to follow Yi Cao while he’s playing in the RBC Canadian Open next year. If the way he’s been playing the last month is any indication, I think he’ll make good use out of that invitation. I also look forward to seeing all the other guys who earned Mackenzie Tour status for next year.
Obviously, with the highs come the lows. I think I’ve learned that you can’t always play the kind of golf you want. I had some very high expectations coming into this Series, and while I thought I played some decent golf, I would’ve liked to play quite a bit better. At the end of the day, it’s a learning experience; you just need to take the good with the bad, move on and become that much better.
I had success qualifying for the PGA TOUR’s 3M Open this year, yet I got beat by a lot of guys during this last month. I think that shows how good Canadian golf is going to be moving forward.
As for what’s next? I’m staying for a month and a half in Calgary before working in October to finish the year as Martin Trainer’s caddie. Still, I am a pro golfer at heart. I love being the one making the final decision and the one who has to hit the shots in pressure situations. I think the most-rewarding thing in the world is being able to pull off that shot at the time you need to.
My coach, Todd Halpen, has had a very big impact on some really good golf that I’ve been playing the last few years. The support of my family and friends is absolutely insane and makes me coach myself to be that much better moving forward.
The Mackenzie Tour, Canada Life, Bear Mountain and TPC Toronto did a great job giving us a place to play this summer and the ability to compete at a very high level. I think I can speak for all the players when I say that we’re really thankful and grateful to have had four events to play. So many people went above and beyond in trying to make the most of the summer for us, it was big and we really all appreciate it.