Mackenzie Hughes, who earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, is the first rookie to go wire-to-wire for the win on the PGA Tour since 1996. He was also asked by Golf Channel about how getting to play with Phil Mickelson at the Safeway Open in October helped him win in just his fifth start on tour.
“It was huge. Just being in atmosphere with those galleries it prepared me to deal with what I was dealing with yesterday and today,” Hughes said. “You couldn’t buy that experience. So playing with him was a real treat.”
A PGA TOUR victory means an invitation to the Masters, and Hughes will likely have a practice-round partner who has some experience at Augusta National: Mike Weir, the 2003 Masters champion. Weir has given his fellow Ontario native advice about pro golf and texted him Sunday evening.
Hughes was a teenager when he met Weir while caddying for an amateur in the RBC Canadian Open’s pro-am. Hughes spent more time shadowing Weir than following his amateur.
“I remember being the worst caddie because all I (did) was kind of stay close to Mike Weir the entire day,” Hughes said. “I was listening to all the stories, trying to ask him questions. My player would be like, ‘Oh, I’m over here in the right rough. Do you remember me?’
“I didn’t get paid very well.”
Perhaps, but here are some other real treats that come with Hughes’ maiden win. He pocketed nearly $700,000 more than the four players who finished tied for second, he gets a spot in the Masters in April, and most importantly, the Canadian earned job security on the PGA Tour through 2019. Tee’d Off Tee Times will be following this Canadian!