Monday, November 17, 2014
Quite unexpectedly, about a week ago, Nick Taylor emerged from the pack as the winner of the Sanderson Farms Championship, in Jackson, Mississippi, on the American Professional Golf Association Tour. He carded eight birdies on the final round to score 66. He bogeyed the final hole, but was well aware that he did not need a par to win.
Following his victory, he spoke with his wife who had just finished work as a social worker in Canada. The 26 year old golfer from Abbotsford, British Columbia picked up more than $700 000 for his victory, as well as exemptions for 2016/2017 on the PGA tour. They planned to go to Mexico this week to celebrate the win. He has another tournament there to close out the season.
I am certain that his win came as no surprise to Taylor.
But the road to success in the golf world is not at all easy, and requires great patience. He won the Canadian Junior Championship in 2006, and the Canadian Amateur in 2007. He qualified for the U.S. Open in 2008 and 2009. He was a first team All American in 2009 and 2010. He was named Canada’s top amateur in 2009. He made his first PGA cut in 2008 at the RBC Canadian Open. In 2010, after a great career at the University of Washington, he rose to # 1 ranking in the world as an amateur.
He began his professional career in 2011, and earned enough money on the PGA Canada TOUR to gain full status for 2012. He finished 30th on the Order of Merit. Even in 2012, he did not win any tournaments, but finished 11th on the Order of Merit. In 2013, he finished 7th on the Order of Merit to gain exemption into the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament finals. He finished 11th to gain conditional status on the Web.com Tour. He went on to finish 37th in the Priority Ranking, earning his PGA card for the 2014-2015 season.
His win at the Sanderson Farms Championship was of great significance to Canadian golf. He is the first player to move from the PGA TOUR Canada to the PGA Tour, and win. He is the first native Canadian to win since 2007, when Mike Weir won.
I am certain that the path to this championship was not an easy one. I have followed golfers on the PGA TOUR Canada, and I have seen the joy and the sorrow. But the rewards are great, once achieved.
He had played the Pro-Am on Monday, prior to the tournament. “It was huge for me to see the golf course early. And the greens, honestly, were faster on Monday than they were all week.” Reflecting on the course itself he stated: “I loved it. It fit my eye.”
The first person to congratulate Nick at the scorer’s table was Canadian Adam Hadwin. “We’re staying together this week. Adam had such a great week. I’ve been rooming with him a lot.”
The night before the final round, Nick made some alterations to his game. The day before, he felt he had “hit the ball well off the tee, but it was a little sideways.” At that point he said he worked on “a bit of posture”.
He gave credit to the other Canadians at the tournament, David Hearn and Graham DeLaet. He knows that the road has been paved by Mike Weir, and older greats including Al Balding, Gary Cowan, Dave Barr, Ian Leggatt, Stan Leonard, Jim Nelford, Bob Panasik, Jim Rutledge, George Knudson, Glen Hnatiuk, Richard Zokol, Brad Fritsch, Stephen Ames, Rod Spittle, Pat Fletcher, and yes, even Moe Norman.
Enjoy the moment, Nick. Continue to hit ‘em straight. Off to the LPGA event this week in Naples.
James, Tiffany Joh, and Joanne
November 16, 2014