My latest Sympatico column, on Saskachewan’s Graham DeLaet and his improbable rise over the past year, is now online.
Here’s a taste:
Graham DeLaet made a tough decision to skip this week’s Canadian Tour event in Mexico even before the tour itself decided to pull the plug on the event.
It wasn’t easy for DeLaet, from Weyburn, Saskatchewan, who has been considered one of Canada’s top golfing prospects for the past few years. After finishing fourth on the Canadian Tour’s money list last year, DeLaet has only played in one event so far in 2009 “ and missed the cut. But with swine flu ravaging parts of Mexico, DeLaet thought it prudent to fly back to his home base in Boise, Idaho.
“I wasn’t happy not playing, but I was happy getting out of there,” he says.
DeLaet’s decision was likely made a little easier by the fact he’s had a whirlwind year already. After teeing it up representing Canada at the World Cup last year in China with teammate Wes Heffernan, DeLaet found he was eligible for South Africa’s Sunshine Tour. Despite already having plans to play a mini-tour swing in the U.S., DeLaet scrapped that notion and flew to South Africa.
Even though he had just returned from Christmas in snowy Saskatchewan, and by his own admission had not prepped his golf game properly, DeLaet found himself at the Joburg Open, an event on the South African tour that is co-sanctioned with the European Tour. That meant the young Canadian was in a field with the likes of former U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen. Undaunted, his strong play continued and he finished 12th. It would be his worst finish in four starts in South Africa, which included a pair of second-place finishes, putting DeLaet sixth on the tour’s money leaders list despite not having played enough events to actually be a full-time member.
“I jumped up the world ranking and so did my confidence,” he explains.