It's about winning in 2023 for Canadian golfers Henderson, Hadwin entering 1st tourneys
'It's nice to start a new year mentally fresh and prepared for a fairly long season'
Two of the biggest names in Canadian golf will return to competitive play on Thursday.
Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., is in the field for the American Express, his first PGA Tour event in 2023. Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., will tee it up at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, the elite event that starts the LPGA Tour's season.
Hadwin hasn't played since the Cadence Bank Houston Open on Nov. 13, where he tied for seventh. He said that starting 2023 at the American Express, which is a pro-am format played on three courses, will suit him.
"I tend to be able to get away from my own game a little bit and chat and make sure my partners have a great time and they enjoy the round," said Hadwin, who was a runner-up at the event in 2017 and 2019. "A lot of the time in doing that I end up more relaxed, and I end up playing better.
"I think my record in this event speaks for itself and I've had some good results at Pebble Beach as well."
Hadwin said he had a good mix of rest and training during his nine-week break, with a focus on his short game when he was practising.
"It's always nice to decompress and get away from the game and be able to start a new year mentally fresh and prepared for what ends up being a fairly long season," said Hadwin, who is 55th in the FedEx Cup standings after playing in five tournaments so far this season.
Back 'feels good'
"I was playing some really good golf towards the end of the year and last season as well so there wasn't any major projects or anything like that. Just enhancing a few things. I'm just trying to get better every day."
Henderson played through a hurt back to tie for seventh at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship on Nov. 19. The 25-year-old said she used her winter break to recharge and prepare for the new LPGA Tour season.
"I got a chance to take some much-needed rest, work on some strength and flexibility, particularly around my back, and refocus for the upcoming season," said Henderson, the only Canadian in the limited Tournament of Champions field. "I am to the point where my back feels good, and I am really looking forward to getting the season started.
"Each year has new challenges and goals so hopefully we can get off to a nice start this week."
Henderson won twice on the LPGA Tour last year, at the ShopRite LPGA Classic on June 12 and the Evian Championship on July 24. She finished 2022 seventh in the Rolex rankings and third in the Race to CME Globe rankings.
WATCH | Henderson wins her 2nd career major:
She has repeatedly stated she wants to win at least two events per year, every year, to add to her 12 career victories, the most of any Canadian golfer.
.<a href="https://twitter.com/NellyKorda?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NellyKorda</a> LPGA Tour wins by year:<br><br>2018: 🏆<br>2019: 🏆🏆<br>2021: 🏆🏆🏆🏆<br>2022: 🏆<br><br>She tees off her 2023 season tomorrow 🙌 <a href="https://t.co/KeH0iiNMso">pic.twitter.com/KeH0iiNMso</a>—@LPGA
Like Henderson, Hadwin wants to keep winning. He said his goal this season is to reach the Tour Championship, which determines the winner of the FedEx Cup.
'I'm trying to push myself'
"I've only been there once, and I know it comes with a lot of caveats, so that's probably goal No. 1, get back in there," said Hadwin, who finished 23rd in the 2017 edition of that event. "A lot of what's going on the next couple of years is building towards Montreal and the 2024 Presidents Cup.
"That's probably the goal, to get back on that team when it's being played in Canada. Other than that, I'm just trying to get better every day, compete, push myself to do the best that I can each and every day."
Hadwin is paired with Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., for the first round of The American Express. Nick Taylor, also from Abbotsford, and Michael Gligic of Burlington, Ont., are the other Canadians in the field.
Hadwin, Pendrith, and Taylor will start on the La Quinta Country Club Course, while Gligic will begin on the Pete Dye Stadium Course.
Calgary's Stephen Ames and Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., are in the field at this week's Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Ka'upulehu-Kona, Hawaii.
The 42-player event opens the senior circuit's season.
Korn Ferry Tour
Edmonton's Wil Bateman, Ben Silverman of Thornhill, Ont., and Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., are in the field at The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic in Winding Bay, Great Abaco, Bahamas.
The second-tier tour's event starts on Sunday.