Comment
0
Tweet
0
Print
RSS Feeds

His team lost, but DeLaet hit 2 magical shots

Sunday - 10/6/2013, 6:00pm  ET

RUSTY MILLER
AP Sports Writer

DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) -- His team may have lost, but Graham DeLaet won a lot of admirers.

The Canadian made a lot of friends and headlines with his play in the Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village.

DeLaet (pronounced duh-LET), who grew up in Saskatchewan and now lives in that well-known golf destination of Boise, Idaho, led the International side with 3 1/2 points after posting a 3-1-1 record.

He paired with Jason Day to win both of their fourballs matches, then the two halved with Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley in a foursomes match completed Sunday morning. DeLaet saved the day by chipping in for birdie on the final hole.

"It was unbelievable," DeLaet said about the shot. "Just one of the coolest feelings in my life, really."

Then DeLaet beat another rookie at international competition, Jordan Spieth, in singles. He sealed his 1-up victory, again on the 18th hole and again with another hole-out, this one by blasting out of the gaping bunker left of the green.

He was draped in the Canadian flag as he left the green.

"Pretty crazy finish the last two times here," he said. "I executed them both well, but there's some luck involved as well. I mean, it's super exciting to finish like that. To win the match here and then to halve the match this morning, it makes it even better."

International captain Nick Price was impressed with DeLaet at a meeting of potential International team members at the Memorial Tournament (also at Muirfield Village) in May.

"We walked out of the meeting and Graham came up to me and says, 'I'm going to make this team. I really want to make this team badly,'" Price said. "He's been a wonderful team player this whole week. Every time he walks into the (team room) he's bouncing. He's got a great disposition and he smiles a lot. And he's a hell of a player."

Even though the U.S. won 18½-15½, DeLaet came away pleased with his play and assured that he can compete with anyone.

"I definitely believe deep inside I feel more confidence in myself now," the 31-year-old said. "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."

___

DUELING FANS: The International side was outnumbered in cheers, but made up for it with color and wit.

There were two classic lines by the Aussie-based team-support group, The Fanatics, on Sunday.

As Jason Dufner readied to hit his opening drive in singles, wife Amanda walked into the gallery ringing the tee. The Fanatics, dressed in yellow and green to back the International side, immediately broke out in the chorus of, "Is She Really Going Out With Him?"

Dufner paused in a practice swing and glanced over at opponent Brendon de Jonge, who cracked up.

When several of the red-white-and-blue clad American Outlaws fans began chanting, "U-S-A! U-S-A!" the Fanatics countered by reciting, "ABCDEFG ..."

The U.S. contingent of fans also scored some points, however.

When 46-year-old Steve Stricker, who had partnered with the 20-year-old Spieth in the first three rounds, came to the tee, the Outlaws sang, "He's big, he's bad, he could be Jordan Spieth's dad, Steve Strick-er, Steve Strick-er."

Stricker tried to keep a straight face but failed.

After Bill Haas walked to the tee, one enterprising but off-key singer offered, "Well, he's a Bill, Haaas" a riff on "Brick House" by the Commodores.

Not long after that, U.S. captain Fred Couples walked over to the partisan fan contingent in the stands and flipped a U.S. warmup jacket at the singer.

Finally, all week fans had provoked a reaction from players by shouting, "Raise your hand if you've won a major!" They did it to get a smiling Adam Scott to raise his hand almost every day.

Standing near the first tee and welcoming each of the players was 18-time major winner, Muirfield Village designer and unofficial Presidents Cup host Jack Nicklaus.

The fans broke up when someone shouted, "Raise your hand if you've won 18 majors!"

Nicklaus laughed as he lifted his left arm above his head.

When the competition was completed, several International team members donned honorary Fanatics shirts on the 18th green.

___

STRANGE PAIRING: Perhaps the oddest singles pairing was Tiger Woods, tops in the world rankings, going up against No. 41 Richard Sterne.

The galleries and media were clamoring for Woods to play Adam Scott, No. 2 in the world, or maybe a wily veteran like Angel Cabrera, winner of a couple of major championships during the Woods era.

   1 2  -  Next page  >>