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December 4 2013

11:20 AM

No. 27 player to watch: Graham DeLaet

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With the PGA TOUR set to resume its 2013-14 season the first week of January, PGATOUR.COM is previewing the top 30 players to watch heading into the new year. We'll count down one a day in December until we unveil our No. 1 player to watch on Dec. 30, the Monday of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Check out this preview of No. 27 Graham DeLaet and join the discussion below on how you think he'll perform in 2014. Click here for more on the top 30 to watch in 2014.


NO. 27 PLAYER TO WATCH: GRAHAM DELAET

2014 OUTLOOK: Not since the emergence of Mike Weir in the early 2000s have Canadians' hopes been so high and with good reason. Graham DeLaet has flown the flag well and had a breakout season in 2013. He finished second at The Barclays and third the following week outside Boston after a third-place finish earlier in the summer at the Travelers Championship. The 31-year-old also played in his first Presidents Cup and looked quite comfortable on the international stage. He's good off the tee, a fantastic iron player and makes a lot of birdies. Add it all up and he should win soon. -- Brian Wacker

THUS FAR THIS SEASON: If anyone thought DeLaet was a one-hit wonder, he finished sixth and seventh, respectively, at the WGC-HSBC Champions and CIMB Classic.

EXPERT VIEWS
FANTASY OUTLOOK
Just a matter of time before he bags his first PGA TOUR title. He's too good off the tee and with his irons. Think of an early stage of Jason Dufner, only stronger. DeLaet stays busy and makes most cuts. Back surgery in early 2011 seems longer ago. -- Rob Bolton
ON THE MARK
DeLaet's biggest asset is his physical conditioning, which allows him to make a very powerful, albeit somewhat unorthodox swing. He parlays good length off the tee into a solid iron game which gets him plenty of legitimate looks at birdies. His biggest challenge is playing with the collective expectation of his home nation on his back. -- Mark Immelman
COURSE PREFERENCE
He possesses great length, pounds it onto the green and has charisma.  A back injury slowed his arrival but the Canadian is ready to become a star. It would be such a great story if DeLaet wins the RBC Canadian Open, which is at a venue in Royal Montreal that fits his game. -- Fred Albers
INSIDE THE NUMBERS 
Outside of Steve Stricker, it’s hard to argue that anyone had a better 2013 in the statistics department. DeLaet ranked first in total driving and tied for first in ball-striking. It was DeLaet’s putting that put the cherry on top of a breakout season, though. He improved to 76th in strokes gained-putting (.097) from 156th (-.278) in ’12. -- Bill Cooney

VIDEO VAULT

Super Slo-Mo Drive: Graham DeLaet

The drive of Canadian, Graham DeLaet, captured at The Barclays 2012, is analyzed by four -time PGA TOUR winner and Emmy-winning broadcaster Billy Kratzert.
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