Having played in 11 of the past 13 major championships - and the past two worldwide teams at the President's cup - Hadwin has the most big-event experience of his compatriots and seems ready for the spotlight should he get in contention.
He is one victory away from setting the PGA Tour career record, and it's been that way since January.
"Every course we go to nowadays, it's the way that the modern game has went; the longer you can hit it, the more advantage you have", McIlroy said.
Hadwin is one of four Canadians in the field this week in NY at the year's second major. He gets a shot at a sixth green jacket at the Masters in November.
"I probably just put a little too much pressure on myself going into tournaments", he said. "But yeah, I've got my hands dirty; put it that way", he said with a laugh on Tuesday at Winged Foot. This tournament is known in golf folklore as "The Massacre at Winged Foot".
Defending champion Gary Woodland arrived over the weekend and was chipping around the green when his caddie tossed golf balls in his direction.
"I obviously was pulling for her big time and she was playing some good golf, it's tough when somebody chips in twice on the back nine", Hadwin said of victor Mirim Lee's unbelievable finish. "We didn't find it until we stepped on it. There's a lot of different things", said McIlroy to the Golf Channel.
None of this is news for Woods, one of 15 players who played in the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, the first major that he missed the cut as a pro. Rahm, who tied for third place at last year's US Open at Pebble Beach, hopes to change that this week.
"All I can think is that it just puts things in perspective a little bit", he said.
He is 18-over par in the six rounds he has played at Winged Foot (including the 1997 PGA Championship), 6 over in his one appearance at Oakmont (runner-up) and 3 over in his 12 rounds at Carnoustie for the British Open.
"Those three golf courses, they can host major championships without ever doing anything to them", he said.
Taylor Pendrith, 29, joins Hadwin, Hughes and Conners at Winged Foot on the strength of his top-five finish on the Korn Ferry Tour rankings during this odd year of sports.
Having become a father for the first time earlier this month, he reported that mother Erica and daughter Poppy were well, adding: "I actually changed the first two diapers, so I'm very proud of that".
"It's awesome", McIlroy declared before heading out for nine holes. They are in the same group for the second straight major. He raved about the difficulty and used a word rarely heard at U.S. Opens - fun. "But tee to green, the rough, the greens, everything factored in, I think this is the hardest course I've played".
As for the fun?
"You just have to embrace it". "I'm not going into this week scared of Winged Foot".
"This golf course is going to be one of the more hard ones", Woods said. "I've played enough events with Rory and Dustin and Tiger, to not walk on the range and be taken aback like I used to be". If I have a scoring club, I need to try to make a birdie. "I've been able to dial it back when I needed to, and I've been able to play it properly when I needed to". I started Pebble (Beach) previous year with a nice score and stayed up there for the most part, I didn't quite finish the week the way I wanted to. "Because it's already big".