It’s difficult for PGA Tour player David Hearn to reconcile how he feels about playing golf on the west coast with the results he seems to post each season.
“I truly love playing in California,” said the Brantford resident, whose start to 2021 includes making just one cut in four events.
“You can’t get more picturesque golf courses and you can’t think of more memorable places to be playing golf tournaments.
“But the west coast has always been a tough set of tournaments for me. I’ve never really been able to explain it. This year, going into Hawaii, I felt my game was as good as it’s been at that time of the year but I think my mental game got in the way a little bit.”
When the calendar on the PGA Tour season flipped to 2021, Hearn found himself sitting 75th in the FedEx Cup standings after a strong start in the fall. A missed cut in Hawaii at the Sony Open in January dropped him to 93rd. He rebounded with a tie for 64th at The American Express in La Quinta, Calif., although he still dropped to 101st in the standings.
The 41-year-old then missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, Calif., and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at Pebble Beach, Calif., so he is now 115th in the standings. Payers sitting 125th or better at the end of the season move on to the playoffs.
Hearn said he couldn’t put everything together during his most recent stretch of golf. One day, he would drive the ball well but his irons were off. And, the next day, if his irons were on, his putting wasn’t what he wanted it to be.
Still, he got to play courses, such as Torrey Pines and Pebble Beach, which most amateurs only dream of playing.
“It’s pretty cool,” he said of playing the courses.
“Even we as pros, we still enjoy those golf courses. It doesn’t get more spectacular then playing some of the holes on the ocean.”
After taking last week off, Hearn is entered in the Puerto Rico Open, Feb. 25-28. He has five top-25 finishes in his six starts at Grand Reserve Country Club, including an eight-place finish in 2013.
Following Puerto Rico, Hearn likely will miss the Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players Championship before playing at the Honda Classic, March 18-21, at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
“I know that’s where I start to play well,” he said of Florida. “I have to look at the big picture and move forward.”
There’s a good chance the Brantford Golf and Country Club member then gets busy playing in the Corales Puntacana Championship (March 25-28), Valero Texas Open (April 1-4), Zurich Classic (April 22-25), Valspar Championship (April 29-May 2) and Wells Fargo Championship (May 6-9).
“Oddly enough, this next stretch of golf isn’t necessarily my favourite set of golf courses but they tend to be the ones that I play well,” he said.
“It’s not always the courses that you love the most that you play the best.”
Hearn said he hopes to be back home to play in the RBC Canadian Open, June 10-13, at the St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto.
Hearn, whose only PGA Tour appearance at St. George’s was a missed cut in the 2010 Canadian Open, is cautiously optimistic the event will go ahead.
“Nothing would make me happier than to make a run at St. Georges in the summer,” he said.
“But, right now, with where everything is with COVID, I’m not as optimistic as I was a couple of months ago about that event running. I haven’t heard anything from any governing bodies . . . but I certainly hope by June we’re in a position we get to come to Canada and the top talent in the world can showcase itself.”
Hearn’s tee times for his first and second rounds this week should be available on Tuesday.