You probably didn't notice: Canada is quietly becoming a golf power
Remember the rumblings that Team USA should become Team North America in order to be more competitive at the Ryder Cup? Then remember how we all snickered that such a change wouldn't change anything? Well, maybe it wasn't that crazy a thought after all.
Nick Taylor's breakthrough PGA Tour victory at the Sanderson Farms Championship is the latest example of The Great White North producing some great golf. Taylor, 26, picked up his first tour title in just his 13th start. And he could just be getting started.
The former standout at the University of Washington finished runner-up at the 2008 NCAA Championship, runner-up at the 2009 U.S. Amateur Pub Links, and was the top-ranked amateur in the world for 20 weeks in 2009. Taylor also has the record for low round as an amateur in the U.S. Open, with a second-round 65 at Bethpage Black in 2009.
And he's not the only golfer making Canada proud these days. Graham DeLaet, 32, is currently bothered by neck issues, but he was the star of the International Team at the 2013 Presidents Cup. Known as one of the best ball-strikers on the PGA Tour, he's made more than $5 million combined the past two seasons.
Adam Hadwin, 26, finished No. 1 on the Web.com's priority list last season (the regular season money leader, Carlos Ortiz, is from Mexico. . . Team North America!) and is currently in his rookie season on the PGA Tour. He's made all four cuts so far and finished T-10 at the Shriners Open. Another Canadian rookie on tour is Roger Sloan, 27, who also earned his card through the Web.com Tour.
Former Masters champion, Mike Weir, hasn't played well in recent years, but the eight-time tour winner managed a runner-up at last year's Byron Nelson. Before Taylor's victory over the weekend, Weir was the last Canadian-born player to win on the PGA Tour, at the 2007 Fry's Electronics Open. And David Hearn, 35, has won at least $1 million on the PGA Tour in each of the past three seasons and is currently Canada's second-highest-ranked golfer.
And then there are the young(er) guns. In September, Taylor Pendrith, Corey Conners and Adam Svensson finished second at the World Amateur Team Championship, only two shots behind the U.S. Pendrith, 23, shot a first-round 65 at the RBC Canadian Open last year as an amateur and turned heads with his prodigious driving.
A Canadian ever making an impact on the Ryder Cup remains a long shot, but chances are, the country will play a bigger role in future Presidents Cups. In the meantime, expect to see more Maple Leafs on weekly leader boards.