Canadian Mackenzie Hughes finished second at the Honda Classic, in a March 3, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canadian Mackenzie Hughes finished second at the Honda Classic, in a March 3, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Perspective helps Canadian Mackenzie Hughes excel at Honda Classic

Canadian Mackenzie Hughes never lost faith in his game, even as he struggled through five consecutive missed cuts to start 2020. But Hughes’ professional troubles paled in comparison to the suffering of his friend Daniel Meggs, who succumbed to cancer at the age of 29 on Feb. 23, three weeks before his wife’s due date.

Hughes, who is also 29 and a father, honoured his friend by writing “DM” on his golf balls at last week’s Honda Classic. That added a dose of perspective every time he teed his ball up, helping Hughes finish second at the PGA Tour event and challenge Sungjae Im for the title.

“It wasn’t a tactic to, you know, help me play better golf, it was more just a reminder that life isn’t always fair and that the days that we have are meant to be lived and to be enjoyed,” said Hughes on Monday. ”I kept thinking to myself what (Meggs) wouldn’t give for another round of golf and to see us, his family.

“I just thought it was a nice way to remember him but also keep things in perspective and remind myself that golf is not life.”

The memory of Meggs wasn’t the only thing that kept Hughes grounded as he shot a 5-under 275 overall to finish a shot behind Im and one ahead of Tommy Fleetwood. He was also thinking of his wife Jenna and his son Kenton, who were waiting for him at the 18th hole of the PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

“I came off and I was a bit disappointed and knew I had a good finish but wanted one shot better,” said Hughes, a native of Dundas, Ont. “But it’s just one of those things that, again, brings you back to what’s important and what’s actually going to bring you joy at the end of the day.

“Kenton’s unconditional love and affection is what keeps me going. It’s just infectious.”

All week Hughes was surrounded by friends from his days as a junior and an amateur.

On Tuesday, he and fellow Canadians Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., and Michael Gligic of Burlington, Ont., threw a barbecue. They were joined by a handful of other golfers and caddies, who were Kent State University grads, Canadian, or somehow associated with either camp.

Hughes, Conners, Dave Markle, and Marc Bourgeois — all Canadian and Kent State alum — took a group shot together that Hughes sent to Herb Page, the head coach of Kent State and a product of Markham, Ont. That prompted a long phone call between Hughes and Page and later an inspiring text message from the coach that simply read “The hard part is over” after his former pupil was the only Canadian to make the cut.

That stuck with Hughes and he followed up his 71 and 72 in the opening rounds with back-to-back 66s.

“I was like ‘I’ve been fighting that monkey for a little bit this year’ and then to go there on Saturday for our tee time I was like, ‘All right, let’s just go play golf,’” said Hughes, who had missed the cut nine of 11 times this season, with a tie for 55th a the Houston Open in October his best result before the Honda Classic . “And it was a really nice two days, to say the least.”

Finishing second moved Hughes 157 spots up the rankings from No. 223 to a much more comfortable 66th, just two points behind No. 65 Talor Gooch.

“It just gives me a bit of a shot in the arm going forward,” said Hughes. “I just know that, like I’ve been saying all along, that the game was not really as far off as it seems. I just need build on the momentum for this week and try and keep adding up those points.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2020.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)
Not all long-term care workers have received their vaccines including a Red Deer facility

There continues to be confusion in long-term care and supportive living facilities… Continue reading

Cattle graze winter pasture in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies near Longview, Alta. on Jan. 8, 2004. Concern over the provincial government’s decision to drop a coal policy that has protected the eastern slopes of the Rockies for decades is growing among area communities. At least six cities, towns and municipal districts in southwest Alberta have now expressed concern about the decision and the fact it was made with no consultation. The latest is Longview, where mayor Kathie Wight is drafting a letter to the government opposing the move. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
More southern Alberta communities voice concern over province’s plans to expand coal

Concern over the Alberta government’s decision to drop a coal policy that… Continue reading

Some residents say there is no longer an effective Nordegg fire department to respond to emergencies in the West Country. (Contributed photo).
Some Nordegg residents worry about lack of emergency response in the West Country

The possibility of wildfires or accidents is ‘scary’ says former fire leader

(Advocate file photo).
Red Deer RCMP is reminding drivers to not leave running vehicles unoccupied

Red Deer RCMP say six idling vehicles in the city were stolen… Continue reading

Mom’s Diner owner Wesley Langlois has joined a growing number of Alberta restaurants that are allowing sit-in dining despite public health restrictions. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Red Deer diner joins sit-down dining protest

Mom’s Diner has joined a growing list of Alberta restaurants flouting health restrictions

In this undated image made from a video taken by the Duke of Sussex and posted on @SaveChildrenUK by the Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, shows the Duchess of Sussex reading the book “Duck! Rabbit!” to their son Archie who celebrates his first birthday on Wednesday May 6, 2020. The Canadian Paediatric Society is reminding families that the process of raising a reader starts from birth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Duke of Sussex/@SaveChildrenUK via AP MANDATORY CREDIT
Canadian Paediatric Society says raising a reader starts from birth

The Canadian Paediatric Society is reminding families that the process of raising… Continue reading

People wearing face masks as a precaution against the coronavirus walk past a depiction of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Bernie Sanders’ mittens, memes help raise $1.8M for charity

About those wooly mittens that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders wore to the… Continue reading

Bags of methamphetamine seized at Coutts, Alta., border crossing is shown in this December 2020 handout photo. The Canada Border Services Agency says it has made Canada’s largest-ever seizure of methamphetamine at an Alberta land border crossing from the United States. The agency says on Christmas Day, it flagged a produce truck at the Coutts border crossing for further inspection. Officers found more than 228 kilograms of meth with an estimated street value of $28.5 million. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Canada Border Services Agency
Alberta border agents made record meth bust after pulling over produce truck

COUTTS, Alta. — The Canada Border Services Agency says officers in southern… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. Quebec’s director of national health says he’s still not sure when the province will begin administering COVID-19 booster shots — 42 days since officials started injecting people with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Calculated risk or gamble: Experts differ on merits of Quebec’s vaccine strategy

MONTREAL — Quebec’s director of national health said he’s still not sure… Continue reading

This electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, in yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in a lab. The Canadian Armed Forces is dealing with a dramatic increase in the number of troops who have been infected with COVID-19 over the past month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID-RML via AP
Canadian military dealing with surge in new COVID-19 infections since December

OTTAWA — The Canadian Armed Forces is dealing with a dramatic increase… Continue reading

Advocates for the homeless hold a protest against the COVID-19 curfew Monday, January 11, 2021 in Montreal. The Quebec government says it will not challenge a temporary court order granted Tuesday that exempts the homeless from a provincewide curfew imposed to limit the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Quebec to exempt homeless from curfew after court finds measure endangered safety

MONTREAL — The Quebec government said Wednesday it will not challenge a… Continue reading

People march towards Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland’s office in Toronto, during a rally led by current and former international students calling for changes to immigration rules during COVID-19, on Sept. 12, 2020. A new work permit program for international students in Canada is taking applications starting today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
New work permit program for international graduates in Canada taking applications

A new work-permit program aimed at encouraging international students to settle in… Continue reading

A fire-destroyed property registered to Gabriel Wortman at 200 Portapique Beach Road is seen in Portapique, N.S. on May 8, 2020. Three people who allegedly supplied ammunition to the gunman who murdered 22 people in the April 18-19 mass shooting in Nova Scotia are scheduled for court hearings today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Lawyer for accused in ammo transfer to N.S. shooter criticizes lack of disclosure

HALIFAX — A lawyer for one of three people who allegedly supplied… Continue reading

Most Read