THE PRESIDENTS CUP
Presidents Cup provides bonding experience for Hadwin, Weir
November 26, 2019
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Mike Weir and Adam Hadwin first bonded at the 2017 Presidents Cup. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
The first time Adam Hadwin met Mike Weir was not at a junior clinic or Canadian amateur event – when an up-and-coming star would usually connect with a country’s legend – but while they were sitting out a fog delay.
It was 2013 at the Farmers Insurance Open and Hadwin had Monday-qualified. It was just the eighth PGA TOUR start of his fledgling pro career, and the first of three that season. By shooting 66-74 in the first two rounds at Torrey Pines, he was one shot ahead of Weir. Both made the cut but were well off the lead, as they were in the first two groups on Saturday.
Due to the weather, the pair of Canadians had to keep retreating off the course. It was the perfect opportunity for them to finally meet and chat.
Hadwin was in the midst of an up-and-down year on the Korn Ferry Tour and he’d go on to finish 74th on the money list, just barely earning his TOUR card again for the next season.
Although Hadwin says he can’t remember exactly what was said that morning – he would eventually shoot 69 before withdrawing after feeling a twinge in his wrist, while Weir shot 73-76 to finish T-68 -- perhaps the good vibes of meeting Canada’s winningest PGA TOUR golfer was the spark he needed. The next season, Hadwin won twice on the Korn Ferry Tour, gained his card and has been a fixture ever since.
Hadwin, from Abbotsford, British Columbia, and Weir, from Brights Grove, Ontario, had never crossed paths before then. Hadwin knew of Weir of course, and respected what Weir had done for golf in Canada and the state of the game after his three wins in 2003, including the Masters.
“He was playing some good golf for such a long time,” Hadwin said, “but I didn’t really know anything about him.”
Being from different sides of the country – Abbotsford is roughly 2,500 miles from Brights Grove -- and with Weir and Hadwin’s schedules being totally opposite at that time, there wasn’t much of an opportunity to become friendly.
But after Hadwin himself qualified for the Masters in 2017 and made the International Presidents Cup team, a connection was made.
The Presidents Cup continues to be the catalyst for their growing relationship. Just like in 2017 at Liberty National, Hadwin will play and Weir will be an assistant captain for the Internationals next month at Royal Melbourne.
“As we’ve gotten closer to the Presidents Cup, we’ve texted a little more, been in touch some more. I’m a big advocate for all the Canadian guys, and will be for Adam especially that week,” Weir said.
Every time Weir played the Presidents Cup, he was the lone Canadian. It was easy, he recalls now, to feel out of the pack. He looked around the team room and saw multiple Australians or South Africans having their own bonds.
The Canadian contingent now is small, but mighty.
Hadwin had to rely on a captain’s pick this year after making the team on merit in 2017. The team nearly had two Canadians, Weir noted, as he was pushing for Corey Conners to make the squad as well.
Weir says he was hoping International Captain Ernie Els would have chosen both Corey Conners and Hadwin for this year’s team – it would have been the first time two Canadians would have made it.
While Conners should be a stalwart for Presidents Cups in the future, (“He didn’t get the call this time but his game is certainly capable,” Weir explained.) Hadwin’s short-game skill and his year of experience eventually won him the spot.
Weir was part of Nick Price’s staff at Liberty National and Els pegged him, alongside K.J. Choi, Geoff Ogilvy and Trevor Immelman, to join the team at Royal Melbourne.
“We have great players in Canada. Adam, when it was on the line, played well when he needed to and had some good finishes,” Weir said. “That was important to Ernie – that our guys were playing well at the right time. He proved that he earned his spot on the team.”
There have been just three Canadians to play the Presidents Cup, and Hadwin and Weir are the only two to play more than once (Graham DeLaet in 2013 is the other). Hadwin admits that it’s a “pretty incredible” feeling to be part of such a small group.
“To represent that group on the international stage and represent golf in Canada as a whole is really special and something I take a lot of pride in,” he said.
Hadwin says he’ll be more comfortable going into the Presidents Cup this time around, and some of that comfort can be attributed to his Presidents Cup connection to Weir – who knows a thing or two about representing golf in Canada on a big stage.
Hadwin first leaned on Weir for specific advice when he qualified for the Masters after his maiden PGA TOUR victory at the Valspar Championship in 2017. Hadwin said Weir was very helpful in showing him around the spots at Augusta National and how the Masters week works.
Weir was also there for him with any support he might need or questions he needed answered when Hadwin made his Presidents Cup debut later that year. Hadwin expects it to be more of the same this December.
Hadwin had no preconceived notions of Weir or how he operated prior to them getting closer in 2017. Instead he found a helpful countryman, and a Canadian icon that did a “terrific” job as an assistant captain in New York.
Two years ago, Weir said he tried to make sure he brought Hadwin a level of confidence he needed to play well. Weir wanted to clear Hadwin’s path so then he could just concentrate on golf.
Weir brings with him a myriad of experiences guys like Hadwin can lean on. He played in five Presidents Cups and complied a 13-9-2 record. In his five appearances, he never had a losing record. His 1-up win against Tiger Woods in Singles at the 2007 Presidents Cup at Royal Montreal remains one of the top golfing highlights on Canadian soil.
And, perhaps one day, those experiences will lead him to the captain’s seat.
“If that opportunity comes up, I’d love that. I would be phenomenal. The Presidents Cup has been a big part of my career – some of my greatest memories in golf have come from it,” Weir said.
And he’s got a supporter in Hadwin, who said Weir, from a personality standpoint and getting along with players, would “absolutely” make a good captain.
But Weir potentially getting called on as captain is in the future. Both men acknowledge it’ll be a stern test in the present for the Internationals to take down the mighty Americans in December.
The team will have a Canadian playing and a Canadian as an assistant captain once again, and their bond will grow over the biennial competition. Such is the spirit of the Presidents Cup.
But they want to win, too.
Hadwin says it’ll be on him to ask Weir a few more questions this time around – the conversations will pick up now that the fall portion of the PGA TOUR schedule has concluded – but he feels confident in how his game would travel to Royal Melbourne.
“I think it could really suit my game,” Hadwin said of the course. The 31-year-old has had some success playing in Australia before, finishing T11 and T4 at the 2016 and 2018 ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf, respectively, at two Australian sand belt layouts. “This could be a pretty good opportunity for a guy with my type of game to do some damage.”
And he’s got the support of his countryman once again this year. They’ll have their own growing bond, thanks to the Presidents Cup.
“I’ll be on his side,” Weir said of his connection to Hadwin, “and whatever he needs, we’ll do the best we can to have him in a position to succeed.”