The cold, hard 2013 numbers — seven top 10s, an automatic berth on the International team at the Presidents Cup and a 3-1-1 record once he got there — emphasize that life is about to change for Graham DeLaet on tour in 2014.
After two more top-10 finishes in the wraparound 2013-14 season, DeLaet is at home, not planning to pick up the clubs for awhile, although he will play the Franklin Templeton Shootout in mid-December, and just kicking back with friends and family.
In just three events in the new season, DeLaet, ranked 32nd in the world, is already closing in on half a million dollars and stands 13th on the money list and 13th in FedEx Cup points and what is to come in 2014 is even evident at home.
“(Wife) Ruby and I were sitting down (Monday) trying to figure out a schedule for next year and it’s going to be so much different, playing in all the majors and all the (World Golf Championships) events,” said DeLaet.
“I’ll miss some tournaments that I really enjoy playing. which is a little disappointing, but it’s an exciting time, that’s for sure,” he said.
“When we were looking at it, this might be the first time in my career that I’ll be coming into the Canadian Open somewhat fresh. It’s always just been at the end of a long tear and I’ve never really felt like I can play well there, in all honesty,” said DeLaet.
“This year, that’s going to be one of my goals is to come into the Canadian Open fresh and have a chance to win that golf tournament,” he added.
Such are the perks of a breakout season, one that has been noticed outside the game as DeLaet has been mentioned as a candidate for Canadian athlete of the year. Sportsnet, for example, has included DeLaet’s name in this fan vote.
There’s no doubt that DeLaet is in tough against some of the biggest names in Canadian sports, but there’s also no doubt that he belongs among the contenders, just as he’s proven he belongs among the biggest names in his chosen game.
Last week’s HSBC Champions event in China, for example, was a World Golf Championships event and DeLaet tied for sixth.
“You play in events like I played in last week, I didn’t really feel like it was any different than playing Vegas. It didn’t really feel different to me and I think that’s a good thing,” said DeLaet.
“I’m kind of past that now, where just because it’s a stronger field or a bigger purse, there’s no added pressure. I think that’s a good step forward for me. I remember my first tour event at the Canadian Open, I was so nervous,” he said.
At the Presidents Cup, an event so highly anticipated by DeLaet, he managed to come through when he needed to, first chipping in in foursomes play to forcing Keegan Bradley to sink a 10-footer to halve the match for him and Phil Mickelson against DeLaet and partner Jason Day.
Then, DeLaet holed out from a greenside bunker to win his singles match 1-up against 2013 PGA Tour rookie of the year Jordan Spieth. DeLaet says being paired with Day in the team portion of the Presidents Cup was an incredible experience and he’ll take a lot away from it.
“When the pressure was on and shots had to be made, I felt like I really came through that week. Coming down the stretch in a four-round golf tournament, those are the things I’m going to draw on to be able to close the deal, hopefully,” said DeLaet of his still elusive first win on tour.
“One good round, one lucky break king of thing. I played super solid all year. That’s how it felt,” said DeLaet, adding that it will one day come together for four full days.
“It’s close and I know that it’s going to happen. I’m patient. I’m not worried about it at this point. I truly believe that it’s going to happen, hopefully sooner than later,” he said.