David Hearn is headed home for a rest to prepare for the RBC Canadian Open after the best showing of his PGA Tour career.
The Brantford, Ont., native took a week off to prepare for the national golf championship after finishing as the runner-up at the John Deere Classic on Sunday. He lost in a five-hole playoff with Zach Johnson and eventual champion Jordan Spieth.
“I think getting a week off will help me a lot,” said Hearn on Tuesday. “I’ve been playing a lot of golf and I feel like my game’s been at a pretty good level, so getting a little bit of rest will definitely help me heading into the Canadian Open.”
Hearn’s put together the best season of his professional career, with two top-10 finishes and US$1,026,715 in earnings after 21 tournaments. Last year — his first on the PGA Tour — he competed in 28 tournaments, with two top-10 finishes, earning $1,012,575.
“I think if you look at the way my career has progressed since I turned pro, or even before that, I’ve always had an ability to continue to raise my level of game to the next level,” said Hearn. “I feel like the last couple of seasons I’ve had very good signs and I’ve seen a progression in my game and I feel like I’m continually getting a little bit better.”
His play has put him at No. 46 in the FedEx Cup standings, an improvement on his ranking of 108th last season. The top 125 golfers will make the FedEx Cup playoffs in late August, but Hearn sees winning the Canadian Open as a priority for every golf season, regardless of his ranking.
“Being Canadian, this is our national championship and there’s a lot of pride that goes into playing in it and playing well,” said Hearn. “I don’t qualify for all the majors on tour yet so this is one of the bigger tournaments that I’m going to play.
“When I look at the summer schedule it’s one of the events I definitely want to prepare well for.”
The national golf championship will be held at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont., from July 22 to July 28, about 60 kilometres from Hearn’s hometown.
This will be the 34-year-old’s 11th Canadian Open, and the second year in a row that the tournament has been within striking distance of Brantford. That’s given Hearn the chance to rest at home and count on a large group to support him.
“My parents and my wife and lots of family have always come out to the Open to follow me and last year in Hamilton it was real close to where I grew up in Brantford so I had a big following and Oakville’s not that much further away,” said Hearn.
“I’m sure I’ll have at least the same crew out that I get when I’m real close to home, if not more.”
Hearn expects all the Canadian golfers in the tournament will have fans cheering them on.
“It’s a lot of fun for us to play in the Canadian Open,” said Hearn. “We don’t get that hometown feel very often on tour and we always have a lot of Canadians throughout the course of the year come up to us at various other golf courses — Canadians are very proud of their athletes and golfers — so we’re always running into people and they’re very supportive and definitely when we play in Canada it’s another level.”
There are 12 Canadians already in the tournament’s field, with the possibility of more joining as qualifying continues across the country. Hearn believes the Canadian Open is a special event and that it’s evident to visiting golfers how important it is to the country.
“The Canadian Open is one of the few national championships that we play on tour and it should have the respect from the other players,” said Hearn. “I think that a lot of players do see that when they come to Canada it’s an incredibly well-supported event and the fans are great and we get amazing crowds.
“It’s certainly an event that guys want to be a part of.”