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October 16, 2013

Graham DeLaet


THE MODERATOR:  I'd like to welcome Graham DaLaet.  Graham you were off last week in between the Presidents Cup and the Shiners Hospital here this week.  If you want to talk about what you did last week and kind of your thoughts on starting the season up already for the 2013‑14 season.
GRAHAM DeLAET:  Yeah, it was definitely nice to get a little break.  I was home in Boise and did some fishing and played a little golf, but more than anything just kind of some down time.
I've been playing a lot of golf here lately with the PLAYOFFS and obviously the Presidents Cup, which was a great experience, but we're back in it here again, so time to get the ball rolling on the next season.
THE MODERATOR:  Okay.  Questions.

Q.  What are your expectations after having such a great season last year?
GRAHAM DeLAET:  Well, I think my goals going forward are going to be similar to what they were this year, and that's going to be to try to put myself in contention winning golf tournaments.  I felt like I did that well last year.  I had a few good chances, and I felt that I played well on a lot of those times when I was in contention on Sunday, and sometimes you just get beat and I wasn't able to really close the deal.  But I'm starting to feel a lot more comfortable being in that position, so hopefully a win is around the corner.

Q.  (Inaudible)?
GRAHAM DeLAET:  Yeah, well, in 2011 I was injured, so I didn't play, and then last year I went over and played the Dunhill over in Europe, which was a great event, and took my dad over there.  We played a bunch of golf in Scotland.  So that was kind of the reason why we didn't play last year.
But it's good to be back.  I played pretty decent here in my rookie season, and I feel like it's a golf course that fits my game pretty well.  You have to drive it good, and you have a lot of birdie chances if you do.  So I think the scoring will be pretty low if the wind lays down, but let's do it.

Q.  (Inaudible).
GRAHAM DeLAET:  Yeah.  I would definitely agree.  I mean it's weird coming here and seeing‑‑ I mean this is my first event of the 2014 season, and seeing all the new faces out here.  Usually it's the Sony Open that's where you see all the rookies and that kind of thing, but there's definitely a feel like, I mean this is a real golf tournament.  It's a six million dollar purse and there's full FedExCup points, and everyone out here is playing for the same reason, that's to get a great start to 2014.

Q.  (Inaudible).
GRAHAM DeLAET:  Well, there was a period where I didn't know if I was even going to play golf again at all.  But once I kind of started the rehab and really focused on getting better and trying to get back out here‑‑ that was kind of my goal was just to get back out and be able to compete and keep my card, and when I was able to do that last year and I was feeling a lot more healthy this year, my expectations and goals kinds of changed.
And that being said, I think my back is still getting a little bit better.  There's still kind of days where it's a little bit hit‑and‑miss kind of thing, but for the most part I'm healthy, and you know, I think obviously being healthy is huge out here.
I mean pretty much everyone, maybe except for some of these 22‑year‑old rookies, we all got nagging injuries, so we can't complain.

Q.  What did you have?
GRAHAM DeLAET:  I had herniated disk L5‑S1, and I had a microdiskectomy, so they went in and shaved off a piece of the disk in January of 2011.

Q.  (Inaudible).
GRAHAM DeLAET:  Yeah, I do.  I do a ton of work.  I have a trainer out here.  I mean 80 percent of the events probably he's out, and I mean there's a lot of core work, a lot of mobility.
I mean one of the main problems I had was lack of mobility in my hips and my thoracic spine, so I put all the torque on my lower back, and that's kind of when it finally gave out.  So a lot of strengthening and stretching, and even soft tissue work to kind of loosen up all the muscles around to try to limit the stress that's on my lower back.

Q.  (Inaudible).
GRAHAM DeLAET:  Yeah.  I mean the biggest improvement for me was 2012 to 2013 was my short game, specifically my putting.  And I've been working really hard with Gabriel Hjertstedt over the past year and a half, two years, and I feel like it's really been a process.  And I'm really starting to trust it now.  I mean I holed a lot more putts last year, but that being said, I was like 70th on strokes gained putting, which is a huge improvement from, what, 150th that I was my first couple of years out here.
But I think to really make the next step in my career, if I can move into the Top 30, 40 guys in putting, I feel like I hit it good enough.  You're going to have a few good weeks where you really make some putts, and hopefully that'll be enough to get a win or two.

Q.  What do you think about having all the Canadians out here this week?  There are four of you.
GRAHAM DeLAET:  Yeah, no, it's great.  I mean, and it's unfortunate, Brad Fritsch is going through a lot of the same stuff that I went through in 2011, and I reached out to him and said if he needs any advice or if I can help him out in any way, because I really feel bad for him.
But that being said, Mike Weir is starting to play a lot better golf, which is great to see.  I was a huge Mike Weir fan growing up.  He was the guy that I always looked up to.
Hearn is one of my best friends out here, and Ames, I just saw him on the putting green yesterday, and he was joking around like his usual self, and this is kind of his last little hoorah here.  He's going to turn 50 and kind of go bounce back and forth between tours.  So it's good to see.

Q.  Are there any side bets?
GRAHAM DeLAET:  Not yet, but it's only 12 on Wednesday.

Q.  (Inaudible).
GRAHAM DeLAET:  Yeah.  That year, I mean I played well on the Canadian Tour, but‑‑ which is now PGA TOUR Canada, but at that time there was really no carrot for us to chase.  I won the Order of Merit, but that only got me to second stage of Q School, so I felt that if I really wanted to kind of develop my game, I'd have to kind of play outside in my comfort level a little bit, so I played in South Africa five events down there.  And I mean it's great to see different golf courses and different types of grass and different styles, and playing against different competitors.  And you know, a couple of those events that I played down there were co sanctioned events with the European Tour and it built my confidence because I was playing well and beating some of the big names on that tour at the time.
And so I think it was‑‑ I mean for my development it was huge, and especially like I said, to just kind of step out of my comfort level because as soon as you get out on to this TOUR, it's a heck of a lot different than anything you've ever played, and I think it prepared me a little bit for that.

Q.  (Inaudible).
GRAHAM DeLAET:  South Africa once and Canada twice that year.

Q.  (Inaudible).
GRAHAM DeLAET:  Yeah.  We went cage diving with Great White sharks just outside of Capetown, so that was pretty cool.  Scarey, but‑‑

Q.  (Inaudible).
GRAHAM DeLAET:  Well, you know, the water keeps you semi‑buoyant, so there's not much pressure on your disk.

Q.  (Inaudible).
GRAHAM DeLAET:  Yeah.  I think the one thing that I was most proud of that week was I hit some really good shots under pressure.  The two chip‑ins that I hit on 18 were great.  There was a little bit of luck involved in those, but I hit some really good shots on 16, which is a really tough par‑3.  And especially with all the pressure on the line.
And you know, Jason was my biggest cheerleader there when I was hitting those shots, and I think even just hearing him tell me, man, you're so clutch, you're so clutch, you know, that even gave me little confidence because I mean he's one of the best players in the world, too, and he was impressed with it, so obviously confidence, but the fact that I was able to pull off shots under pressure, and I mean that's what it takes to win on this TOUR.

Q.  (Inaudible)?
GRAHAM DeLAET:  It was the best scholarship offer that I had at the time, yeah.
THE MODERATOR:  Any good fishing stories from last week?
GRAHAM DeLAET:  No.  It was so windy, we were getting blown all over the lake, unfortunately.
THE MODERATOR:  Okay.  Everybody good?  Thanks for your time, Graham.  Good luck this week.
GRAHAM DeLAET:  Thank you.  Appreciate it.

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