Taylor Pendrith has made a career of playing his way into big events. The PGA Tour's new schedule will let him do just that.
Pendrith, from Richmond Hill, Ont., is one of six Canadians in the field at this weeks Sony Open in Hawaii, the second event on the 2024 PGA Tour calendar, but the first that is not an exclusive signature event. Those marquee events have US$20 million purses and 700 FedEx Cup points available, but they're only available to a restricted field based off of players' rankings.
"This year is different because you can play your way into the bigger events," said Pendrith. "That's a goal of mine, to get off to a good start and play my way into some of those bigger events.
"Hopefully I get into some of the majors and put myself in contention as many times as I can."
Pendrith will be joined by Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., Ben Silverman of Thornhil, Ont., as well as Nick Taylor and Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C. Both Pendrith and Silverman are playing for the first time this year, while the other four all played in last week's season opening tournament, The Sentry.
Hadwin is tied for 14th on the PGA Tour rankings based on his result at that tournament, while Svensson and Conners are tied for 33rd and Taylor is tied for 52nd.
Most PGA Tour golfers, like Pendrith, last played in the RSM Classic in mid-November, the finale of the so-called Fall Ball portion of the 2022-23 schedule. It was the end of the tour's old calendar that for one season only stretched for nearly 14 months.
Starting with 2024, the PGA Tour's season will be contained within a single calendar year. Pendrith said he enjoyed the six-week break between the RSM Classic and the Sony Open, visiting family in Canada during the holidays.
"We went to (TPC Las Vegas) last weekend to do some prep work and split the trip up, get adjusted to the time zone a little bit," said Pendrith. "I got here on Sunday and I'm shaking off some rust, but it's nice to get back into the routine of tournament golf and practising how I usually do for tournaments.
"Just trying to get ready and be ready to go by Thursday."
One of the highlights of Pendrith's career was playing for the International Team at the Presidents Cup in 2022 at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C. He had been out with a fractured rib for a long stretch of that season but was one of the best players on tour when he came back, earning an invitation from captain Trevor Immelman to play for the Internationals at the best-on-best team event.
"I got a taste of the Presidents Cup last time in Charlotte, and it's something that, ever since I've left there, I would love to get back to," said Pendrith, who hopes to make the 12-on-12 event again this fall at Royal Montreal Golf Club where Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., will captain the International team.
"It being in Canada this year, and Mike Weir, being the captain, it's something that I think every Canadian is looking forward to."
Svensson and Taylor will tee off the first and 10th tee at the same time on Thursday. Silverman, Hadwin, Conners, and Pendrith will follow Taylor to the 10th tee at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu for the first round of the Sony Open.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 10, 2024.
John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press