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DeLaet, Baryla Head to the Weekend

Weyburn, Sask.'s Graham DeLaet in the mix this week in Houston

Graham DeLaet is in the mix this week in Houston. Perhaps thats not that big of a surprise “ I think a lot of people expected the Weyburn, Sask. native to do well and he did at the start of the year before cooling off significantly, missing five cuts in a row.

I caught up with DeLaet late last week when I was doing some work for a Toronto magazine that asked me to interview him and Chris Baryla, who also made the cut this week, and talk about their thoughts on the game.

I find DeLaet to be a thoughtful, smart interview. I caught him at home in Bosie, that he shares with his wife. He said tour life is like starting a new job where you dont know any of the other employees. While Mike Weir has reached out a couple of times “ DeLaet had a lot of praise for Weir, who invited him out for practice rounds alongside Baryla “ in a lot of other occasions it sounds like Graham has been on his own. He said that, along with missing several cuts in a row, starts to wear on you. Hes also at the point where hes dissecting his rounds and beating himself up over his short falls:

For four weeks I missed cuts because of one bad hole “ just one bad hole. It wasnt as if I was playing well enough, but I should have made the cuts. And after a few weeks it started to wear on me. And you look back on it and realize if you make four cuts and have a good weekend, you might make another $150,000 or $200,000 and be in an entirely different spot.

The problem seems to come down to putting, not surprising if you look at his stats. Hes one of the longest hitters on tour this year, but his flatstick isnt working. He said he finally got it going in Puerto Rico and then hoped ride the momentum into the Transitions tournament a week later. But, as proof of how difficult PGA Tour life can be for rookies, DeLaet found himself as the eighth alternate initially, before ending up as the first alternate on Thursday. So he went to the course at 6:30 hoping someone would drop out and waited until the final afternoon tee time. He never got into the event, and flew home to Idaho.

Why is DeLaet having success this week? Once again it comes down to putts “ or specifically only 25 of them in the second round. Of course the only time I saw him on TV yesterday he blew a birdie putt past the hole. Cant make them all, I suppose. And his length cant be argued “ hes 4th in driving distance this week, averaging 313 yards off the tee.

Both DeLaet and Baryla were looking forward to this weeks event in Houston. Baryla, who thinks he reinjured his back after lifting weights at the start of the season in Hawaii, is struggling. He has played every little outside of actual tournaments and in some instances cant even risk practice rounds. Ive always enjoyed talking to Baryla, dating back to his success at Hamilton in 2003 as an amateur. I remember sitting in the locker room after he made the cut talking to him about what the future held “ and he wasnt even sure golf would be it. Hes very bright “ and would have followed a path into engineering had he not played golf. He told me he was really interested in building bridges. Not your typical golfer, for sure.

Baryla made the cut despite a so-so Friday. But at this point, having missed five of six cuts, just playing on the weekend is a step in the right direction.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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