Taylor Pendrith is Canada’s emerging golf superstar.
He’s been picked to click since leaving university, but a series of injuries slowed his progress. Now Taylor Pendrith is demonstrating just why he’s considered one of the biggest hitters in pro golf, and is one to watch in the year ahead.
Taylor Pendrith hasn’t seen his girlfriend since late spring. The Canadian, who hails from Richmond Hill, Ont., has been on the road for months, playing on the Korn Ferry Tour and chasing his dream of playing on the PGA Tour. Along the way he’s become one of the hottest golfers on the planet—racking up three consecutive runner-up finishes in August and a T9 at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship at the end of the month. The success garnered him a spot in the U.S. Open at Winged Foot—but not a spot on the PGA Tour for 2020-21, despite finishing in fourth on the Korn Ferry money list. Sound confusing? You’re not alone.
When he first appeared at the RBC Canadian Open as an amateur in 2014 at Royal Montreal and immediately made a splash by becoming one of the biggest hitters in a field that included Dustin Johnson, Pendrith seemed destined for greatness. He made it to the Korn Ferry Tour two years later before his progress was slowed by a nagging series of injuries.
Now 29, he doesn’t try to smash the ball all the time— “I can sacrifice distance to find a few more fairways,” he says—and credits his short game for his surge up the Korn Ferry money list this year. “My course management has really gotten better,” he says. “A lot of things have really been clicking for me.”
Since appearing in pro tournaments while playing at Kent State, Pendrith has become known as one of the longest hitters on tour—any tour. But his ability to hit the ball incredible distances put a lot of wear on his body. That explains why he’s on the cusp on playing on the PGA Tour instead of winning there, like former teammate Mackenzie Hughes.
In fact, this year started slowly heading into the Covid-19 lockdown. But when he returned, healthy and ready to fulfill his promise, Pendrith demonstrated he would be a force on the Korn Ferry Tour practically every week.
“I tend to play pretty well coming off of breaks,” he says. “I guess I kind of peaked during that stretch. I had a lot of confidence and it was a lot of fun.”
Despite his success, he’ll likely only get access to alternate-field events on the PGA Tour, tournaments that play opposite to bigger, more prestigious events. The challenges from the pandemic mean the PGA Tour will need a year to sort out all of its exemptions owed to players for this past season, many of which went unfulfilled. “It sucks,” Pendrith admits, “but it was the right decision.”
Now he’s heading to the U.S. Open on a course he’s never played before. But that’s not deterring him at all; instead, he’s looking forward to the challenge. Finally, healthy, Pendrith is finding the game, even at the top levels, fun again.
“My mindset is really in a good spot,” he says. “I’m just enjoying playing golf.” After that, he’s hoping to come back to Canada, go into quarantine, and visit his girlfriend, who works in Hamilton, before heading back out on tour. “It’ll be great to get back to Canada,” he said. “There really hasn’t been any opportunity in months.”
What’s in the bag?
The long hitting bomber from Richmond Hill, Ontario has a mix bag of tricks but all play an extremely important role in his success thus far.