03/28/2014

The man is skinny. I don’t mean skinny in the sense of ‘the trendiest jeans’ or ‘supermodel tone’– I mean, Chesson Hadley is skinny. The bones, the long, lanky arms. Simply skinny. Standing 6 feet, 4 inches, the 26-year-old doesn’t weigh an ounce over 160 pounds. From a physical frame, there’s nothing to him. As a golfer and human being, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

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I’ve been familiar with Chesson Hadley for roughly a year now. When I first saw him, I was skimming through the Golf Channel’s coverage of the Web.com Tour. Chesson was in contention and I remember his remarkably thin stature, combined with the personal flair he exhibited during his play. He would snap after birdie putts. Not an “awe-shucks” snap, but a cocky, wrist-recoil snap. It looked like he was a gang leader, calling his ‘posse’ to rally up. He looked like a cowboy whipping a lasso– not that I know anything about cowboys or lassos. But it was unique and Chesson had flair.



His charm pierced through the TV screen.

The PGA Tour is always starving for fresh talent to hit the top of the game– especially guys with marketable personalities. A flashy game is great, but combine that with a charismatic flair– and the Tour can create stars. Chesson Hadley is next up.

Look what’s been done with Bubba Watson. Granted he’s a major champion now– but before, Bubba was a southern boy, long-bomber with a bayou speaking drawl. His name was Bubba. He was outspoken and funny. He had no fear of the camera. Today, he’s one of the PGA Tour’s most popular players with way over 1 million Twitter followers.

Other guys have seen this, too. Rickie Fowler is a marketing marvel with the orange, flat-bill hats are seen in galleries nationwide. Keegan Bradley is oft seen in PGA Tour “These Guys Are Good” commercials. Hunter Mahan has been seen in brighter colors, commercials airings and PING campaigns. What about Swede Jonas Blixt and his fashion statements as a member of Cobra and Puma? Ian Poulter has created an entire brand for himself.

Chesson has the flair of those guys. Last week on ‘Inside the PGA Tour’, Chesson hit bunker shots for the fans, with one of his tips being the “sun’s out, guns out” mantra. A family man, Chesson has voiced his priorities in life pubically. He lists his faith in Christ as his life’s focal point. His career in golf sits behind that.

Over the course of the last year, Chesson has had a meteoric raise in golf. This time last year, he ranked well outside 1000 in the official world golf ranking. In fact, he ranked in the 1500s. Today, he’s knocking on the door of a Masters invitation via a top-50 world ranking. He’s up 1500 spots in 12 months. He has a win on the PGA Tour, winning the Puerto Rico Open a few weeks back, and two wins last season on the Web.com Tour. Unfortunately for Chesson though, his win in PR itself didn’t grant him a spot at Augusta.

Nonetheless, he’s kept the strong play going. Look what he’s done the past few weeks:

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Without a final round 79, Hadley was in legitimate contention at Arnie’s place. Right now, Hadley sits 56th in the world golf rankings. Via Doug Ferguson, a finish of 7th or better this week at the Valero Texas Open will get him into the Masters.

I say he gets that top-50 ranking and makes it to Augusta. And I’ll be interested to see how Augusta National responds to his ‘finger snapping’ ways.

Keep snappin’, Chesson.

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