Going for the Green

Robert Thompson's comments, criticism and opinion on the world of golf.

DeLaet’s time away from golf and the rise of Canadians on the PGA Tour

Is this the year of DeLaet's breakthrough?

Is this the year of DeLaet’s breakthrough?

I interviewed Graham DeLaet last week for Global News. The story was a tie in to a charitable announcement being made by Shaw (parent company of Global) but became more wide ranging, talking about what DeLaet did in his off-season (a lot of corporate outings, the wedding of his caddie, a fishing trip) and his goals for the upcoming season:

“I feel like that. In order to win golf tournaments you need to make putts at crucial times,” he says. “But I know I’m going to be there and I’ll have my chances this year. I know it is only a matter of time before I make a chip on Sunday or a long putt to get into the lead, and I really believe it is going to happen sooner than later.”

He also talked about changing up his approach to bigger events, largely by not changing up his approach at all:

“Some guys think they need to play harder and practice more in bigger weeks, but for me the recipe is to treat it like any other week and take the results and move on,” he says, noting that’s what he did at the PGA Championship. “Augusta was the most nervous I’ve been. When I looked back at how I approached it I felt it was a success just to play in it and that’s not how you approach a golf tournament. You haven’t done anything just be being in the tournament. I settled in my second round and I know I can go around and shoot good numbers. Hopefully that’ll be next year.”

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 8.42.10 PMHe briefly talked about his putting, which is clearly still holding him back. At some level golf is two games — one into the greens and one on the greens. DeLaet has mastered one, but is not even average when it comes to the other. He’s often bristled when the question of his putting is raised, but it is clearly something he’s keenly aware of. The catch is it isn’t easily fixed. Even putting more time in on the putting green may be counterintuitive. I have a close friend, an instructor of some note when it comes to the short game, who thinks DeLaet’s problems start from his fundamentals at his setup. But putting is an art and a science, and I can’t say what the issue is.

Regardless, DeLaet remains one of the game’s fascinating players. If he figures out how to overcome his issues on the greens, there’s no doubt he’ll win — likely a couple of times in quick succession.

The full story is here. 

As a follow up I wrote about the number of Canadians — six full-time, with Brad Fritsch having limited playing opportunities — on tour this season.

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 8.57.30 PMWith Mike Weir tinkering with his swing under a new swing coach, the real focus among the Canadians will fall on DeLaet, David Hearn and Adam Hadwin. Hadwin has been open about changing his mindset heading into the Web.com season and how it resulted in him making more than $500,000 in the process.

“I’ve had quite a few of what I call backdoor finishes, where I finished on the cutline and then snuck into the Top 10,” he says. “When I’ve had my chances at the top of the leaderboard on the weekend I’ve taken advantage of it. It has been a lot more fun and a lot more enjoyable. Playing the golf that I have, it is hard not to enjoy it. I’ve enjoyed everything that goes along with this life a lot more this year. I’ve had more fun on the golf course and let things go a lot easier.”

There will be lots of focus on Hadwin and how he deals with it will be interesting. He has changed agents recently and there will plenty of distractions on and off the course. Of course, Hadwin has dealt with these in the past — so I don’t expect much of a change. He’s actually refreshingly easy to deal with for the media.

The Global Golf Post story is here.