The President’s Cup was a breakout performance for Graham DeLaet. He had a brilliant President’s Cup debut, which included not one, but two hole-outs at the final hole.
Many fans from across the province were tweeting to DeLaet to show their support for the former Weyburn golfer. DeLaet posted in response, “Thanks to everyone for the tweets. It’s a week I will remember for the rest of my life. The Americans played unreal golf. We’ll get ‘em in Korea.”
The next President’s Cup, set for 2015, will be hosted in Korea. After the successful weekend that DeLaet had with the team, and the praise he received while competing, there is a good chance he will back for the next President’s Cup.
Even Nick Price, the captain of the International team, was talking about DeLaet coming back for the next President’s Cup. “I think we saw a few guys — Graham DeLaet, Brendon de Jonge, Hideki Matsuyama to name just three — that are going to be around President Cup teams for a long time.”
DeLaet played all four team matches during the President’s Cup with Jason Day, and came out of them with a 3-1-1 record. Of the 24 players in the competition, only Tiger Woods (4-1-0, 4 points) had more points. DeLaet had a fantastic finish too, after holing a greenside bunker shot for a birdie at the 18th to beat PGA Tour rookie of the year Jordan Spieth for one point.
“I executed them both well, but there’s some luck involved as well,” said DeLaet, during a PGA Tour interview. “I mean, it’s super exciting to finish like that; to win the match here and then to have the match this morning, it makes it even better.”
“I definitely believe that deep inside, I feel a little more confidence in myself now,” admitted DeLaet. “These are the best players in the world and this American team is just loaded with talent. To be able to come in here and play well against them means a lot.”
While the individual performance was tremendous, DeLaet admitted to disappointment at not being able to help his team break the long drought in the competition. The Internationals were humbled by the Americans, losing 18.5 to 15.5.
There was a lot of “heart” from the International team, who came into the tournament as underdogs and in addition to battling against Team U.S., but both teams had to adjust their playing styles because of the weather. Rain interrupted the matches all week and made Muirfield Village so soft, that it was mere target practice for the best players from every continent.
During the Thursday four-ball match, Day and DeLaet won an important first point for the International Team. The only other team to score a point that day was the pairing of Oosthuizen and Schwartzel.
Day and DeLaet competed against Hunter Mahan and Brandt Snedeker for the Thursday four-ball match. Team International started with one point, but then the Americans took control of the ball, and were three up by the sixth hole. Team International bounced back, forcing the Americans back down to one up by the 14th hole, and then scoring points on the last holes to earn themselves a point.
Back on the course for the Friday foursomes, Day and DeLaet faced up against Michelson and Bradley, and lost their only match of the weekend.
Team International had the lead this time, with one point up by the fourth hole, but then Team U.S. fought back from behind, and were up by four points by the 15th hole. The last three holes of the match weren’t played.
Day and DeLaet scored two points during the Saturday four-ball, and were the only International team to earn points during that day. They played against Stricker and Spieth.
The American team were up one point until the third hole, then team International tied up the points. Day and DeLaet took a slight lead in the ninth hole, but then on the 12th hole the Americans tied up the points. Then during the last three holes, Day and DeLaet scored one point on the 16th and another on the 18th to take a two-point advantage.
Also on Saturday, Day and DeLaet played in foursomes against Michelson and Bradley, and halved their points.
Team International took an early lead for the Saturday foursomes, they had two points by the third hole, and another point by the fifth hole. But then the Americans started scoring points, bringing things to even by the 12th hole.
The American team took a point by the 14th hole, and then the International team scored a point to even things at the 16th hole. The score stayed even after 18 holes for the match.
For the final day, all the players competed for single scores, and DeLaet won a point golfing against Jordan Spieth. Both golfers stayed tied until the ninth hole, when Spieth took a slight lead, and he scored two more birdies on hole 12th and hole 14.
DeLaet was strong on the last four holes, scoring birdies on the 15th, 16th and 18th holes.
Elsewhere on the course for the International Team, Ernie Els had beat Steve Stricker, and Marc Leishman rolled in a 15-foot par putt from the back fringe of the 18th green to beat Matt Kuchar.
Adam Scott and Charl Schwartzel both won their matches also.
Both Nick Price, the captain of the International Team, and U.S. captain Fred Couples were impressed with DeLaet’s performance during the weekend.
“He’s fun to watch,” said Fred Couples. “He hits it a long way, he putts well. You know, he’s just a very good player.”
“He’s a hell of a player,” said Nick Price. “I think Canada has a lot to look forward to the next 10 or 12 years or so, watching him play, because he’s definitely major championship material.”
Even Jack Nicklaus gave a nod to DeLaet, after meeting him on the legendary Muirfield Village. “I thought he played great,” said Nicklaus, during a PGA Tour interview. “I talked to him on the first tee today and I said to him, ‘Graham, the way you’ve played this week, this will mean an awful lot to your career.’”
During the closing ceremonies, DeLaet draped a Canadian flag over his shoulders, and just on the other side of the ropes separating the putting surface from the gallery, about 40 fans started crooning “O Canada” in DeLaet’s honour.
The only other Canadian to compete at a President’s Cup was Mike Weir, who played in five straight tournaments from 2000 to 2009.
Another highlight of the weekend for DeLaet was attending a Columbus Blue Jackets game, where they were hosting the Calgary Flames. DeLaet, a Flames fan, was given a personalized jersey from the team.
In 26 starts on the PGA Tour this season, DeLaet had seven top 10s, including a runner-up at The Barclays and a third-place finish the following week at TPC Boston. He finished his PGA season with over $2.8 million, and was eighth in the FedExCup standings after the playoffs.
He ranked first in total driving, a combination of distance and accuracy, and was third in greens in regulation. He was also 16th in birdie average.
According to the Official World Golf Rankings, DeLaet is ranked 32nd in the world, and is the top Canadian golfer.
There will be many open doors for DeLaet for the 2014 PGA Tour, as he is now qualified for all four major events, and will be allowed to compete in World Tour events.