By Jonah Dayton
Among the first people to greet Nick Taylor after his second-place finish at the WM Phoenix Open — after his wife and daughter — was his friend, countryman and fellow tour pro Mackenzie Hughes.
Despite failing to make the cut, Hughes was still out on the course at TPC Scottsdale on Sunday to support Taylor as he flirted with becoming just the second Canadian winner in WM Phoenix Open history, after George Knudson did so in 1968.
“It’s awesome,” Hughes said. “I was really pulling for him to get the job done today, and even Adam (Hadwin) was playing really well also, but yeah it’s really fun. I feel like every week there’s someone in the mix. I think I saw a stat where Canada was the most represented country outside of American players this week, so it’s a great sign for Canadian golf, all of us are really close friends so it’s really cool to be out here supporting him.”
Taylor ultimately came up just two shots short of the trophy, after sharing the lead with eventual winner Scottie Scheffler as late as the 12th hole. Taylor’s performance, along with fellow countryman Hadwin, who finished tied for 10th at 10-under par, was an extremely positive sign for the state of Canadian golf.
“I feel like we’ve been getting stronger and stronger on tour,” Taylor said. “Last week I played with Taylor Pendrith and he had a great Sunday and finished top-10 there, so it’s great for us all to play together and have the brotherhood like that we have. I feel like we’re all playing well, so it’s exciting.”
“It’s great,” Taylor said. “We’re all close friends, we play a lot of practice rounds together. To show their support to kind of show up is great. It would have been nice if I was holding the trophy with them there too, but, no, it’s awesome. It’s definitely a Canadian brotherhood out here.”
Jonah Dayton is a sports media graduate student at Medill. You can follow him on Twitter.