By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.com
Canada’s Roger Sloan recommits to process, regains PGA TOUR card
This year, Roger Sloan tried to be “a little more natural” with his putting efforts. On the PGA TOUR the last few seasons, he ranked well below No. 100 in Strokes Gained: Putting. The change in approach helped him to drain “a lot more makeable putts” in 2023 than in years past, he said.
Until the back nine of the season-ending Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance. His putter completely abandoned him, he said. And there he stood, facing the most important putt of the season at the dastardly par-4 18th hole at Victoria National Golf Club.
“I just hadn’t hit any putt on line on the back nine, and then I get to 18 and I just chuckle because I have an 8-footer to get back on the PGA TOUR,” Sloan said with a laugh. “But that made it really simple. Go back to the basics. Feel the putt. And give yourself the best chance to make it.
“I hit it, and I knew it right away. I looked up and it went in the hole.”
Sloan, who finished tied for 10th at the Korn Ferry Tour season finale, finished No. 29 on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List to secure a return to the PGA TOUR thanks to a very solid closing two months. The top 30 on the season-long Points List earned 2024 PGA TOUR membership.
Sloan, 36, won the Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank in August and had a fair-to-middling campaign otherwise, until he came to the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.
He was vaguely aware of his position on the Points List – he was 31st heading into the final event of the season – but he wasn’t doing any calculations.
“I just knew that if I went to go play golf and got out of my own way, that would be good enough,” Sloan said. “The last 12 rounds (on the Korn Ferry Tour) … I knew that if I managed the golf courses and managed my way around, it was going to be good enough – and it was.”
Sloan, who won for the first time on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2014, admitted that last season on the PGA TOUR was “terrible.” He made only nine cuts and said it was a direct reflection of some of the effort and intentionality he was putting into his game.
“It just wasn’t there,” Sloan said.
Sloan has three kids under age 7 and things were changing – routines, comfort level, scheduling. Everything added up and he was quick to say he just wasn’t being “as intentional” with his practice efforts as he should have been.
“There were really no expectations this year other than just committing to doing the work. We did that,” Sloan said. “I saw some results early. I wasn’t able to string four solid rounds in a tournament together but saw some good rounds and some good signs. There was productivity with the game.
“And all of a sudden we won in Utah and that was the confirmation we needed that what we were doing was the right things.”
Sloan is a veteran of 129 TOUR events, his best result coming in 2021 when he lost in a playoff at the Wyndham Championship, and he fully believed that he would be back on TOUR eventually – whether it was next year or the year after. His goal was always to keep getting a little better each year.
“This year was a recommitment. It was a bounce-back year,” he said. “Let’s just get ourselves back into the process of being the best golfer we can be.”
Sloan and fellow Canadian Ben Silverman both regained PGA TOUR status via their finishes on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List (Silverman finished fifth, his season including a win at The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club) and will join, perhaps, the country’s best group ever together on the PGA TOUR all at once.
Mackenzie Hughes won the 2022 Sanderson Farms Championship followed by Adam Svensson at The RSM Classic. Corey Conners won the Valero Texas Open earlier this year and then Nick Taylor rolled in an epic 72-foot eagle in a playoff to win the RBC Canadian Open. The four victories were the most by Canadians in one TOUR season ever.
“It isn’t six or seven rookies on the PGA TOUR, it’s been a steadfast group of guys out there and it’s just fun to watch all the Canadians play really well and that’s only going to continue,” Sloan said. “That’s not a strike of lightning. We have some good, solid Canadians on the PGA TOUR and you’re just going to see those guys continue to rack up wins.
“It’s a goal of mine to win on the PGA TOUR and join those guys in that club, so hopefully we can work hard and get that job done soon.”
For now, and perhaps in the most typical Canadian fashion, Sloan said his only plan over the next few weeks is to watch “a lot of hockey” as the NHL season gets underway. He’ll get back into the gym soon to start tightening the routine again as he gets ready for the Sony Open in Hawaii in January.
The 8-foot putt on the last hole of the last event of the Korn Ferry Tour season was ultimately the shot that helped Sloan regain PGA TOUR status. But the work begins anew.
“Am I really excited to play against the best players in the world? Yeah, that’s ultimately where you want to be. But right now, I’m just focused on getting really good at golf and seeing how good we can be the next few years,” Sloan said. “That’s what I’m excited about.”