A $117,000 paycheque would have most of us laughing all the way to the bank, but the winner of Nova Scotia Open kept his emotions in check, meaning that not much had changed since taking that title at Ashburn Golf Club in Halifax on Sunday.
Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., wears the fact that he’s paid his own freight throughout his career like a badge of honour, pointing out that it’s kept him focused on the job at hand.
If you consider that he’s likely on his way to the PGA Tour next year, there’s no point in arguing with success.
“I’ve been extremely blessed to play this game on my own dime. I’ve self-financed my entire career. The bank really loves me – I’ve chalked up a little bit of debt,” said Sloan, a graduate of PGA Tour Canada.
“The one thing that it’s taught me is you have to be prepared, you have to be focused each and every round, each and every shot,” he said.
“I think mentally it’s really strengthened my game. I’ve always said that good golf will take care of the money and obviously, I’m very ecstatic for the money I won last week, but it’s not my goal to win money. It’s to win PGA Tour golf tournaments and that’s just another step in that direction,” said Sloan.
There’s no arguing with him on that point either. Sunday’s win at the inaugural Web .com Tour event in Halifax launched Sloan from 80th to 12th on that circuit’s money list. The top 25 at the end of the season graduate to the PGA Tour.
“I’m very confident in my game, so I’ve never had too much worry about money, said Sloan, who does count Titleist, Sligo and FootJoy as his club, apparel and footwear sponsors, respectively.
“I’ve always had faith in my ability and I’ve known that times get tough. Obviously, there’s a lot of sacrifices that I’ve had to make, both me and my wife, but I’ve never doubted that and I’ve always made sure that there’s a way to make it work,” he said.
Sloan made it work last weekend when even post tropical storm Arthur couldn’t keep him from his eventual fate, but nothing came easy either.
Tied for first on Friday, Sloan not only had to sleep on the lead that evening, but Saturday night as well, not to mention that entire day.
Yet, Sloan said it offered him a breather, some time with his family.
“It might have actually been a blessing. On Saturday, when they notified us that play had been permanently suspended, it was a good chance for me and my family just to kind of completely get away from golf,” said Sloan.
“We toured the Halifax area, put on the tourist card and really didn’t think too much about the golf tournament, to be honest with you, That kind of allowed me to come out Sunday fresh,” he said, adding he knew it was going to be a long day with 36 holes ahead.
“Not only does your body get tired but your brain gets tired too. I just spent (Saturday) relaxing and enjoying it with family and getting ready for Sunday,” he said.
Just as he kept his emotions in check during the long day off on Saturday, so too would he have to do the same on a long day Sunday, when he completed his third round with a 71 after opening with 67-65 scores the first two days.
However, American Derek Fathauer had six birdies on the front nine of his fourth round and for awhile, the tournament seemed to be slipping away from Sloan, who was being followed by a large partisan crowd.
“I honestly did not take a look at the leaderboard at all Sunday. I believe I glanced over once, it would have been after seven holes, just briefly glanced in that direction,” said Sloan.
Fathauer had another birdie on 12, but bogeyed two of his final three holes, while Sloan, who made the turn at one over had three birdies and a bogey on his first five holes before parring his way home to finish at 11-under and force a playoff with Fathauer.
Sloan parred the first sudden death hole, while Fathauer bogeyed to give the Canadian his first Web .com Tour win on home soil.
“Going on to the back nine and into the playoff, I was in control of my emotions. I was in control of my golf game and in control of my body. It was a cool feeling,” said Sloan.
“I knew what was on the line. When your mind starts to race and starts thinking about the money and a PGA Tour card and trophies, those thoughts can quickly become distractions,” he said.
Keeping those emotions in check and not getting too far ahead of himself is the same theory he’ll take into the future as his career appears headed in the right direction.
“There’s no real timeline as to how fast it’s going or how slow it’s going. It’s a process,” he said.
“Whether I win on the PGA Tour when I’m 38 or next year when I’m 28, I don’t know when that’s going to be, but like I said, you’re just always continually working towards that goal of winning on the PGA Tour,” he said.