So, you think the U.S. Open rough is thick. You should check out Graham DeLaet’s beard.
You could lose a sleeve of golf balls in there. Imagine what the rules officials would say.
How far will the beard go, or grow?
The laid-back DeLaet — who would have done anything to grow a playoff beard as a player in the National Hockey League — laughs it off.
When it comes to this current beard, he’s all in.
“I’ve been working on it for a while,” admits DeLaet, who is in in San Diego to play in this week’s $6.5-million Farmer Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
“There is no plans or anything for it. Last fall, when we had the kids (twins Roscoe and Lyla) and everything, I thought I’d like to grow a serious beard. I’ve never really done it. I’ve always had a bit of a beard. It’s been kind of fun. It’s the longest it’s ever been. There’s no plans for it or anything. I’m just doing it.”
No, this is not a super head-start on a playoff beard. There’s no superstition to it, either.
DeLaet — who just turned 34 the other day — is a new dad who merely put away the razor for a while. His twins, who are 11 weeks old now, will soon be tugging away at that beard, should he keep it before he shears the sheer volume of it all.
DeLaet, who once proudly grew his golf game in Saskatchewan, is into his seventh season on the PGA Tour.
He’s off to a decent start in 2016 with a top-10 finish at the Sony Open in Hawaii and T-42 last week at La Quinta. He’s earned $259,018 through five events to the new season, which began back in October.
Last season, DeLaet had an injury-plagued off year but still managed to make $988,349 through 22 events.
While that’s a dip from the $2,616,518 he earned in 2014 and career-high $2,834,900 in 2013, DeLaet says he’s actually proud of what he accomplished last season as he grinded out some respectable results.
“Looking back at last year, I’m actually pretty proud of myself for being able to keep my job (PGA Tour card),” DeLaet points out. “Really it’s not easy to do when you’re at full health, playing against the best players in the world. I was probably only legitimately healthy for four or five tournaments last year. It was tough. It wore on me mentally as much as it did physically because I knew I was capable of hitting shots that my body wasn’t allowing me to do. That’s frustrating. My game is kind of built around hitting shots – that’s what I take pride in and it’s what separates myself from other guys. When you’re not able to do that, it makes the game a lot tougher. Looking back, I was actually pretty happy being able to do what I did just to keep my job.”
These days, being a father and all, he’s feeling pretty good. His golf game is rejuvenated and refreshed.
“I needed a little bit of a break,” says DeLaet, adding that, up until Sony, he had only played three or four tournaments in about five months.
“It was a good break for my body and I’m feeling a lot better now.”
DeLaet, who underwent back surgery five years ago, has been dealing with an assortment of injuries — “just nagging stuff,” as he puts it.
One week, it would be his neck. Another week, it’d be his back. He hurt his thumb in the Canadian Open, forcing him to withdraw from that as well as the PGA Championship.
“It was just kind of a number of things,” says DeLaet. “It was tough to deal with but the golf swing is hard on your body and everyone’s kind of banged up out here and I’m not getting any younger. I’m not old yet, but I turned 34 last week and I’m not 24 anymore.”
Next week, he’s at the Canadian crowd-favourite Waste Management Open in Phoenix, where there is sure to be as many Saskatchewan Roughrider fans as golf balls.
He’ll take the Pebble Beach Pro-Am event off before resuming play at the Northern Trust Open in L.A.
“That’s about as far as I’ve gone (schedule-wise) now.”
Source: nationalpost golf news