On the eve of this week's RBC Canadian Open Graham DeLaet discusses his desire to improve his short game.
By David McPherson, Special to PGATOUR.COM
OAKVILLE, Ontario -- Mike Weir is the only Canadian to play for the International Team at The Presidents Cup. Graham DeLaet is in a great position to follow Weir's footsteps.
DeLaet, from Weyburn, Saskatchewan, enters this week's RBC Canadian Open ranked 13th in the International standings. The top 10 after the Deutsche Bank Championship on Sept. 2 get automatic spots on the team, with captain Nick Price announcing his two captain's picks later that week.
Although he knows he has work to do, the 31-year-old DeLaet is pumped up about the possibilities of representing Canada at this year's Presidents Cup, which will be held the first week of October at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio.
"My ambitions are very high, I can guarantee that," DeLaet said this week. "Starting the year that was definitely one of my main goals and was on my radar."
In May, DeLaet was among the potential International players who were invited to a Presidents Cup meeting with Price and fitted for team uniforms in case he makes the squad.
During the meeting, DeLaet got a feel for just how passionate the International team is about the Presidents Cup ... and especially about ending the Americans' streak of four consecutive wins. The Internationals have just one win and one tie in nine attempts.
"Some of the players poured their hearts out just telling how much it meant for them to play on that team and what it would mean to win," DeLaet said. "You know, I was just getting goose bumps in that room sitting with some of the best players in the world, and I mean, it was at that time where I really, really wanted it.”
DeLaet is the highest ranking Canadian on the International points list; David Hearn is the next closest at 31. DeLaet's spot is due to his consistent play on the PGA TOUR. He has five top 10 finishes and 10 top 25s, with his best result a third at the Travelers Championship.
DeLaet also ranks first on TOUR this year in greens in regulation and second in total driving.
Price, in his first year as the International captain, certainly has taken note of the Canadian's recent success.
“Graham has played really well recently and I think he is just beginning to see how good a player he can be,” Price said. “He has also seen first-hand how passionate all of us who have played in The Presidents Cup are and I am sure he would make a wonderful member of the team.”
South African Ernie Els, who has played in seven Presidents Cups and has a 17-16-2 career record in the event, thinks DeLaet would be a great addition to the squad.
"He would be a great asset to our team with his attitude towards life and golf," Els said this week. "He has all the power and is in control of his game.
"I have the sense he has more belief in himself."
DeLaet knows that to make the team. he must continue his consistent play. The rest will fall into place.
“The only way to make that team for me is to play good golf ... that’s a goal,” he said. “I’ve got to just focus on the process, and that’s hitting every shot the best I can and playing solid golf day-by-day and tournament by tournament.
"Hopefully my goal is to be in the top 10 so I don’t have to wait on any kind of captain’s pick, and if I get picked, if I’m not in that top 10, great, and if not, that’s just kind of how it goes, and I’ll wait for two years to try to make it again.”