Étienne Papineau | So far and so close to the PGA Tour

How can you knock on the door of the PGA Tour circuit while ignoring the noise it causes? This is the challenge with which Étienne Papineau must negotiate.

All golfers without exception, from the amateur who tees off at the Parcours du Cerf to the private instructor at Manoir Richelieu, have already imagined themselves, if only for a single moment, hitting the fairways of a PGA course. For some, these mirage-like visions have the potential to come true. This is the case of Étienne Papineau, the best Quebec golfer.

The athlete from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu is passing through Quebec for a few days before returning to action on the Korn Ferry circuit, the gateway to the PGA Tour. At the end of the season, the 30 best-ranked players will obtain their playing rights for the best circuit in the world in 2025. After six events played in South America, Papineau is ranked 30e ranking position.

“It’s not necessarily easy all the time out there,” the 27-year-old golfer said by phone during the first round of the Players Championship. We left our comfort zone. We are on another continent, it is not the same language. So it’s not always easy to move around or communicate there, but we’re doing well. »

Five times propelled into the rounds of the weekend, one top 10 and three top 25, indeed, Papineau is doing well. Even if the main person concerned is far from satisfied. “I’m quite competitive, quite a perfectionist, I’m quite hard on myself. (…) I know that I am capable of winning on the circuit. I’m just missing a few things to work on. »

Here he talks about his efficiency and creativity around the greens. Reasons why he intently watched players perform on TPC Sawgrass during the “fifth major of the season.” He will train on the same lawn in a few days. This is one of the privileges he is entitled to as a member of the Korn Ferry circuit.

The next step

Last year, Papineau had to end the season in the top 5 of the Fortinet Cup, with PGA Canada, to access the Korn Ferry. He did it brilliantly and obviously every tournament he plays this year is dedicated to his goal of staying in the top 30 to realize his most precious dream. This is also the goal of each of his rivals and this is what makes his mission so complex.


Etienne Papineau

The right-hander, however, keeps a cool head: “We don’t necessarily talk about that. Our immediate goal is not to make it to the PGA Tour. We have a long season ahead of us. » Indeed, there are nearly twenty tournaments left. “It can change quite quickly. There are still a lot of points to be found. »

However, for the 29 other golfers in the same situation as him, it must be a colossal job to analyze the rankings without planning ahead. Hundreds of golfers would do almost anything to get as close as they did to the coveted goal.

“It’s like last year,” Papineau rationalizes. I had a great year on the PGA Tour Canada, but I try not to think too much about the rankings. You try not to think about it, but you will eventually. It’s like getting to 18e hole and lead by one stroke. You have to be able to handle that. »

Playing for Pat

On February 8, Étienne Papineau lost one of his mentors. Patrick Rhéaume, a renowned and appreciated trainer, requested medical assistance in dying to end his suffering linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He accompanied the golfer mainly during his junior development years.

Obviously saddened by the news of his departure, Papineau was able to assimilate it slowly, because Rhéaume had expressed his last wishes to him two weeks previously.

Needless to say, the tournament he played in the hours that followed was dedicated to Rhéaume. “Before each round, I have a little journal in which I write down goals. And that week, I wrote “I Play for Pat.” »

The day he died, Papineau shot a round of 63. The next day, he scored a hole-in-one on the seventh hole at the Bogota-Lagos Country Club, Colombia. He finished the tournament with a -15 card and an eighth place. His best result of the season so far.

Étienne Papineau knows very well that he was not alone during this weekend. Nor will he be if he ever manages to hold his PGA Tour card in his hands.

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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