graham DeLaet does not possess the corrupt alter ego of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll, but there is a fascinating primal sublayer to the soft-spoken Canadian who has sur- passed his idol, Mike Weir, as his coun-
try’s current best golfer. DeLaet is
more like a Marvel Comics creation. Think Incredible Hulk.
Simmering agitation lurks beneath the façade of one of golf’s
most congenial men. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry,
at least not if you’re his opponent on a golf course—the one
place that initiates his transformation. He is intense, driven,
thirsts to beat you, and once he starts learning how to win on
the PGA Tour, you could see DeLaet going on a rampage.
A breakthrough victory appears all but imminent for the
small-town kid from Weyburn, Saskatchewan, a railroad
town in Canada’s heartland previously known athletically for
producing Dave ( Tiger) Williams, the NHL’s career leader
in penalty minutes. In his first two starts of 2014, DeLaet
scored a pair of runner-up finishes at the Farmers Insurance
Open and Waste Management Phoenix Open, continuing a
run of high performance that began in last year’s FedEx Cup
playoffs, when he finished T- 2 at the Barclays on the strength
of a closing 65, followed by third place at the Deutsche Bank
Championship. Those efforts propelled him to a berth on the
International team for the Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village
GC, where the world got a good look at the fiery side of the
otherwise mild-mannered “DeLetty,” his boyhood nickname.
Add top- 10 finishes last fall in two of his first three starts to
begin the 2013-14 season and you have a golfer now ranked No.
30 in the world, having reached a career-high 26th in Febru-
ary, and preparing for his first Masters. This is heady stuff for
a late-blooming, self-taught golfer who three years ago feared
his career could be over after back surgery. But the fury with
which he threw himself into rehab and his almost-maniacal
work ethic are further manifestations of the duality of his
personality, placing him in the company of, say, Steve Stricker
or Arnold Palmer, gentlemen of the first order who ooze com-
petitive passion once they take hold of a golf club.
“DeLetty, he’s just this very humble guy, and yet there’s
another side to him that’s intensely competitive,” says
friend and fellow Canadian Sean Foley, the renowned swing
instructor who often trades barbed texts with DeLaet but
does not teach him. “In some ways he’s still kind of under the
radar, but I can’t see that going on much longer. Especially
with his talent and his work ethic.”
DeLaet broke out
side during the 2013
Presidents Cup at
where he went 3-1-1.