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July 23, 2013

Brad Bell

Graham DeLaet

Foster Weisberger


THE MODERATOR:  As I said, we're joined by a special guest, Premier of Saskatchewan, Mr.Brad Bell, who's going to make a special announcement with Graeme DeLaet, and I'll turn it over to them.
BRAD BELL:  Thanks, everyone, for attending this press conference.  It's a pretty exciting day for some excellent Saskatchewan companies, for the government of Saskatchewan, for the people of the province, to be able to make this announcement and unveil a brand new logo that Graeme will be wearing for the Canadian Open and the rest of this year and next.  In fact, I think he was rocking it on the last two days of the Open Championship there, as well.  We have a few pictures we've been tweeting out.
Saskatchewan has been very lucky for the last number of years; we're growing.  Today the retail sales numbers came out for the country, and we were No.1 in terms of growth, No.2 year over year, and No.1 month to month.  There's these statistics that come out regularly, and we're very fortunate to be an economic leader in the country.  We don't take it for granted.  We're not complacent about it.  We're always looking to promote the province.  We're looking for ways that we can involve those who are successful in the province and out of province to be a part of that, and that's what we're announcing here today.
I'm a big golf fan, golf nerd some might say, and I've been watching Graeme's career, and just thinking, man, if there was only a way we could leverage what he's doing, not just because of the kind of golfer he is but because of the kind of guy he is, the kind of ambassador he would be for the province.
And so we came upon the idea of using a website portal.  We already have part of our growth plan was to establish a better online presence and we have a brand called ThinkSask.ca, which drives the visitor, whether they're residents or potential investors, to important facts and information they might need about the province, and it's pretty successful.  But it's helpful if you have somebody who is quite famous, for example, driving that traffic to the website, and I guess that's where the idea came from.
I had the chance to make a call to a few of our great companies, our great corporate citizens and it took off from there, and they're going to be introduced, the representatives of those companies are going to be introduced here in a moment by Foster, but they include the Brandt Group of Companies and the individuals again that will be introduced.  They includes Cameco, they include the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, Viterra and Magna Electric.  Frankly there was a lot of other interest, as well, and there might be other ambassadors down the road, but I'm going to turn it over to Foster to explain a little bit more about the alliance and I'll quickly introduce Graeme.
I know you will have questions related to things beyond this particular announcement, but I want to introduce him here in a bit.
FOSTER WEISBERGER:  I'm Foster Weisberger, corporate secretary for the Saskatchewan Ambassador Alliance Corp.  The Alliance Corp was incorporated under the Nonprofit Corporations Act specifically for the purpose of promoting Saskatchewan by partnering with prominent individuals who display the type of qualities that make them a great ambassador of the province.
Five corporate partners joined together to fund and sponsor this event, specifically Brandt Group of Companies, Cameco Corporation, Magna Electric Corporation, Potash Corp and Viterra, Inc., and these corporate partners are funding Graeme DeLaet.  My notes initially said up‑and‑coming Graeme DeLaet, but I think he's arrived, so it's not really necessary.
We have some representatives from those corporations here today.  We have Sean Semple from Brandt Group of Companies; Jonathan Huntington with Cameco Corporation; Kerry Heid from Magna Electric and Kyle Jaworski from Viterra, Inc.
Graeme already was a great ambassador for the province, but now we're proud to make him part of the Ambassador Alliance and sort of formalize the arrangement, and I think Brad is equally proud of that and is here to introduce Graeme.
BRAD BELL:  Well, he is the 32nd ranked golfer on the PGA money list as of today.  I was on the website today.  He, I think, is ranked currently 25th in FedExCup standings.  He has five top‑10 finishes this year.  I think now he's one behind Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Lee Westwood in this regard.  He leads the PGA TOUR in greens in regulation, which is a crazy stat.  He leads the entire Tour in that particular stat; ranked 13th in proximity to the hole; 14th in driving distance.  He is ranked 19th in scoring average ahead of Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson, and he single‑handedly has caused American golf broadcasters to learn how to pronounce Saskatchewan.  Even Verne Lundquist had it right a couple tournaments ago, which is also a big promotion for the province.
But best of all, he is the quintessential Saskatchewan guy.  He's a great guy.  He's never forgotten his roots, his Saskatchewan or his Canadian roots.  We all saw him a few tournaments ago with Calgary written on his hat and the donations he was making for birdies and eagles back to the flood effort.
He was just back in Saskatchewan.  We saw each other a couple weeks ago raising money for junior golf there and the Weyburn Saskatchewan Hospital Foundation.
He's a great guy, even more important than all of his golf accomplishments and skills.  That's why we're so very proud to have this ambassadorship go to him, the first one, and I just want to say thanks very much to the five companies that have been acknowledged.  They've really stepped forward to make this possible, and it's good for the province.  We think it'll be good for Graeme, and the companies deserve a lot of credit for their ongoing leadership.
Ladies and gentlemen, I'll turn it over to Graeme.
GRAEME DELAET:  Thanks, Brad.  Just to reiterate what Brad said, obviously without the five companies, this wouldn't have come together.  Brad's one of my biggest fans I know for sure because he's always tweeting me, more than my wife.  You know, I'm proud to be from Saskatchewan, proud Canadian.  I think the Saskatchewan way of life is hard‑working, and I kind of feel like I fit that mold being out here and still trying to get better, but I guess that's about it.

Q.  Graeme, just a story I heard today, going back to 2008 when you were still playing on the Canadian Tour, apparently there was a tournament there when you had run out of money and you were going off to Montreal, which is a tournament you eventually won.  Apparently there was someone who gave you $5,000.  Is that true?
GRAEME DELAET:  Yeah, originally when I turned professional I was lucky enough to have a great guy like Mark Hedge from LasVegas, who was a good friend of my coach at Boise State, and he gave me the funds to kind of get going.  I had run out, I was playing poorly that year, I had missed five or six cuts on what was then the Canadian Tour, PGA TOUR Canada, and I was close to‑‑ I had one or two more tournaments left in my bank account basically, and it just so happened‑‑ I don't know how it all worked out, I kind of turned my game around.
We had three weeks off there before Montreal and went home and practiced, and I kind of figured this is kind of the last shot, let's make it happen, and I ended up‑‑ I finished first there and then I finished second the next two weeks, and that was what kind of propelled my career.
I mean, it's amazing how close it could have been.  I suppose I could have scratched and clawed and try to find some more funding because I did truly believe in myself and I thought I had what it took.  Without Mark, he's a big part of why I'm here today, and like who knows what would have happened, I guess, yeah.

Q.  Tell me about playing in Saskatchewan.  I know you guys have‑‑ you have sand greens out there or you play a lot of sand greens, don't you?
GRAEME DELAET:  When I grew up‑‑ not like any of the cities or towns, but some of the real small towns, like I had some good friends that we're farm kids and we'd go out and play some sand greens once in a while.  I never played any tournaments on sand greens.  Actually my PhysEd teacher in high school, he was trying to get me to play in a provincial sand green championship but I never did.  I don't know why.
BRAD BELL:  I know when you talk about sand greens, the courses are far in, so considering we're all on horseback and carts, it's tough to try to play‑‑

Q.  Actually Wendell Clark brought that up.  Getting back to how you're feeling now, you obviously made the trip across the Atlantic, you played the pro‑am yesterday.
GRAEME DELAET:  Yeah, I'm just a little tired.  I mean, my sleeping patterns are pretty much back on track here right out of the gates as soon as we got back.  I think I need a couple good nights' sleep and I should be ready to go.  Feeling good physically and just making sure I get enough rest here the next couple days.

Q.  How long is the partnership for and what's expected of Graeme?
BRAD BELL:  We ventured into this arrangement until September of next year, so September 2014.  Graeme is going to be wearing the ThinkSask logo on his shirt and at tournaments and other media appearances and other public things that he does, and he has an arrangement to come back and do some appearances back in Saskatchewan, as well.

Q.  You used the term quintessential Saskatchewan.  I was wondering if you can define what you think that means, and Graeme, if you can define what that means.
BRAD BELL:  Sure.  Well, Saskatchewan right now, and by the way, this is not because of the government, this is because of companies like you see here and small businesswomen and men and the people of the province, but Saskatchewan right now is leading.  It's excelling.  It's heading in the right direction.  We have a lot of momentum as a province.  But if you spend any time there, you'll know that none of it has gotten to anyone's head.  We're not spiking the ball in the end zone.  People in Saskatchewan are grateful for their status as head province, but they're keeping their head down, they're working hard, they're humble, and they never sort of get above their raisin, to use a phrase like that, never get ahead of themselves, and I think that describes Graeme.  That describes not only his golf talents in terms of how much he's excelling right now, but if you know him at all, it describes the kind of guy he is, and that's why I think he's the perfect ambassador.
GRAEME DELAET:  Yeah, I mean, for myself, like I mean obviously I agree with Brad.  I think of like hockey players in Saskatchewan who are‑‑ we grew up in‑‑ every small town has their own rink, and you get out there on the ice and you get extra ice time and you can go out any time you want and kids develop.  We've got a lot of players in the NHL coming out of really small towns.  It's the same sort of thing.  I grew up at the Weyburn Golf Club.  We were out there every single day because we loved it, but I think, like I said earlier, the reason that I got to where I'm at is because I worked hard.  I mean, you see it with every single farmer and all the guys on the oil crew and the Potash guys.  I think just in general Saskatchewan people are just hard‑working guys.
BRAD BELL:  I'd just be remiss not to acknowledge Dave Dube.  Dave is a friend and another great business leader in our province who made some other news here in the golf world, another reason for Saskatchewan to be very, very proud today, and I just want to acknowledge that.  He's got to go back in a few months to continue to work on behalf of the U of S husky football team and all the other things he does, but Dave, thank you very much for your continued leadership in the province.
THE MODERATOR:  Graeme, you're obviously having a great year with the career‑best finish at the Travelers Championship and playing your first major last week, so we'll just open it up for any questions about that.

Q.  Graeme, just regarding the announcement with Dave Dube and what's going on behind the scenes, just a comment from you on just what is happening and what your thoughts are for the future.
GRAEME DELAET:  Yeah, think it's going to be a super smooth transition for all the guys who were previously at Landmark.  I think it's going to be beneficial for all of us joining a little bit of a bigger group.  I mean, we have got pretty much all the top Canadian players in golf on the roster, and I think more than anything it's just exciting for all of us involved.

Q.  Just curious your thoughts right now you're about 13th I guess in the international standings for the Presidents Cup.  Do you see this week and weeks coming up and what are your thoughts and your ambitions to make that team?
GRAEME DELAET:  Well, my ambitions are very high, I can guarantee that.  Starting the year that was definitely one of my main goals and was on my radar.  We had a Presidents Cup meeting with Nick Price at Columbus this year with potential members of the team.  We got fitted for clothes and that kind of thing.  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.  You know, I was just getting goosebumps 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.
I mean, the only way to make that team for me is to play good golf, and so I mean, that's a goal.  But I mean, 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.

Q.  Just going back to the statistics, I know sometimes statistics can be misleading a little bit, but obviously it's very impressive that you're leading the TOUR in greens in regulation and your ball striking, total driving, all up there.  It seems the one stat, and I know sometimes when people write stories about you they talk about your putting, but the one stat is the proximity to the hole with your scoring clubs, your wedges and your scoring irons, it's around 90th to 100th.  Do you feel that's something you need to improve on and is that one of the reasons why people say you don't make enough birdie putts?
GRAEME DELAET:  I guess that would be fair to say.  I can guarantee you that I'm working on everything.  With my short game, I feel like it's improved drastically this year.  I'm holing a lot more putts.  I've gone from about 150th to about 80th, 90th on the strokes gained putting this year, which is probably the best putting statistic.  And I know that 90th is not a great statistic, but it's a hell of a lot better than 150th.
You know, I've been working with Gabriel Hjerstedt on my short game for the last two years basically now, and I think it's like an accumulation of everything coming together.  I can hit these shots around the green when I'm at TPC Scottsdale messing around, and now I feel like I'm able to trust myself on the golf course and hit those shots.  We work a lot on wedges, as well, and I think that's coming along.
But there's no question that when you play with guys who are really good from inside 100 yards, they make it look really easy.  I think to get to that next level, which is where I would like to be, I'd have to clean that up a little bit, yeah.

Q.  As a younger guy do you feel like you have a chance here to change the landscape of Canadian golf?
GRAEME DELAET:  I mean, we're not trying to change the landscape.  All the guys that are in the field, and I think we've got a great core of Canadian golfers here this year, maybe as good as I've seen.  I played with a few guys here this morning, some of the young guys who are not PGA TOUR players, and there's no question there's a ton of talent in this country, and it's only a matter of time really before we start seeing it.
Would I like to win this golf tournament and hopefully change the landscape?  Absolutely.  I mean, I'm going to do everything I can starting yesterday to hopefully be on that 18th green late Sunday afternoon.
BRAD BELL:  He's already done it in Saskatchewan in a big way.

Q.  Picking up on that, I'm just wondering, given the year that you're having and given the way you've climbed the World Rankings and also the Money List and FedExCup list, do you feel any more pressure this week than you have in the past playing in this tournament?
GRAEME DELAET:  You know, if anything I think I feel maybe just slightly more comfortable.  I think coming into this tournament the previous four times that I've played it, it was‑‑ I always came in wanting to play good, and I believe this year that I can play well.  Whether I do or not, that's going to be found out on Thursday through Sunday, but I really feel like my game is in a good place, my confidence is high.  I feel like it's just kind of rolling.  I've got a great team around me, and I mean, that's all we can really do.  But I think, like I truly believe that if I play good golf, I can be in the hunt, and that's kind of just the main thing.
You never know if you're going to win or not, but I'd love to put four good rounds of golf together because I've never done that at the Canadian Open.

Q.  Since you got into the hypothetical a little bit earlier with where your career might have gone had it not worked out in '08, what do you think you would have done if you would have abandoned golf?  Did you have a plan B?
GRAEME DELAET:  No, not really.  I'm sure that I would have stayed in the golf business of some sort.  I mean, I would love to help out kids, and I think when my career is done, I would love to give back to that.  I think that would be‑‑ I have no question that I'd either be coaching in college or maybe with Golf Canada or Golf Saskatchewan or something like that because that's kind of where my heart is.  I mean, that's all I really know is golf.  I wasn't a very good student.
But in all reality, I'd be in the golf world somewhere.
THE MODERATOR:  Well, thanks very much.

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