Graham DeLaet has made history in the Professional Golf Association (PGA) tour by being the first Canadian rookie in over a decade to retain his PGA card in his first year.
Graham DeLaet has made history in the Professional Golf Association (PGA) tour by being the first Canadian rookie in over a decade to retain his PGA card in his first year. Currently 98th on the PGA Tour money list, the former Weyburn resident earned over $950,000 and placed as the top Canadian on tour in 2010 ahead of both Stephen Ames and Mike Weir.
"It felt great to secure my card for 2011," said DeLaet. "Coming into the fall series, I knew I had work to do to retain my status for next year, and I'm thrilled that it didn't come down to the final event of the season."
"I set out this year with one specific goal in mind, that was to win enough money to secure my playing privileges for 2011," added DeLaet. "A win would have been very special, but I know it's only a matter of time."
According to the World Golf Rankings, DeLaet is still third after Ames and Weir. He had gained 39.91 points in 2010, with total points of 45.29. Graham is only 15 points behind Weir in the world rankings.
DeLaet had an impressive Fall Series after taking September to "rest up and get mentally and physically prepared. I've been battling some injuries in the latter part of the season and at that time specifically I was nursing an injured hand and wrist, so the rest was necessary."
"The atmosphere in a fall series event is not much different than a regular season event, except that a lot of the higher-ranked names in golf tend to take those weeks off," said DeLaet. He had finished tied fifth at the Viking Classic, tied 25th at the McGladrey Classic, tied sixth at the Frys.com Open and recently tied 18th at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Open.
At the Timberlake Shriners Open, DeLaet started round one by scoring a 69, two-under-par. He fired one eagle, three birdies, 11 pars and three bogeys. Then he had a very successful second round shooting a 63, eight-under-par with nine birdies, eight pars and one bogey.
The cut at the event had been set at four-under-par after two rounds, which was easily made by DeLaet. In his third round, he fired a 70, one-under-par, after having five birdies, 10 pars, and struggling with two bogeys and one double-bogey.
DeLaet was able to return to a strong fourth round, scoring a 67, four-under-par with one eagle, two birdies and 15 pars. A particular highlight for Graham during the Timberlake Shriners Open was that his foursome included Rickie Fowler and Bryce Molder, who both are in the top 50 PGA money leaders.
"This was not the first time I was paired with Rickie Fowler or Bryce Molder," clarified DeLaet. "But they are both really good guys and terrific golfers. On the PGA tour, I'm fortunate to play with and learn from the world's best on a weekly basis."
Looking back on his rookie year of the PGA, DeLaet said his most difficult moments were "dealing with my injuries as well as the general grind of a PGA Tour schedule, especially as a rookie. As a rookie on the PGA tour, your goal is to play in as many events as you can, within reason, to ensure you give yourself a good shot at keeping your card. That approach, while necessary, can be very grueling physically and mentally."
"I'm now looking forward to setting out my schedule in advance and being more selective as to what events I play and how often I play," said DeLaet about the 2011 season. "It's a nice luxury to have."
During his rookie year on the PGA, DeLaet captured three under-10 finishes, five additional finishes under-25, and had seven additional events where he made money. The last event on the PGA tour fall series is the Children's Miracle Network Classic on Nov. 11 to 14.