NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – Adam Oates has traded hockey sticks for golf clubs.
The former NHL star is working as a caddie for Brett Quigley at the AT&T National. The pair met when Oates played for Boston and the idea was hatched after a dinner last year at Las Vegas. Quigley tossed out the idea that Oates should help out and they quickly clicked on the course.
This is the fifth tournament they’ve been paired together.
“The hardest part is agonizing over every shot,” Oates said Friday. “You’re just feeling for your guy. It’s stressful. I don’t pick the clubs, but we talk it out. We do the math together and talk.”
Oates scored 341 goals and had 1,420 points in 1,337 NHL games over 19 seasons with Detroit, St. Louis, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Anaheim, and Edmonton.
Oates, a five-time All-Star, retired as a player in 2004.
He was hired this week as an assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils.
Quigley said he wanted to pop by practice and shoot a few pucks.
Oates wants to remain in the caddy mix for as long as the schedule allows. Just don’t expect to see him ever try and make the field.
“I’m a typical jock. We stink,” he said. “Can’t play another game but we’re all trying.”
EH FOR EFFORT: Like so many Canadian kids, Graham DeLaet grew up dreaming of playing in the NHL.
He takes his shots these days on the PGA Tour.
“It was never my plan to professional golf,” he said after shooting a 1-under 69 in the AT&T National. “It just kind of happened this way.”
DeLaet was a serious hockey player until he hurt his back on a cross-check in front of the net. He could barely walk for a month because his back was such a wreck. When he recovered, he grew more devoted to his golf game and landed a scholarship to Boise State.
“I always played, I just never took it seriously,” he said. “I won a lot of tournaments in Saskatchewan, but the competition’s not great there. I didn’t have any high expectations of myself going to college.”
DeLaet is a huge fan of the Calgary Flames and loved watching the Philadelphia Flyers make their run to the Stanley Cup finals. The Chicago Blackhawks won the championship in six games.
“They did better than almost everyone expected them to,” he said of the Flyers.
DeLaet, who now lives in Idaho, is in his rookie season after playing on the Canadian Tour.
“I want to make sure I’m out here again next year,” he said. “I mean, this is the life.”
BATTLING THROUGH: Sean O’Hair’s sore back was not an issue on the course until the last four holes of the AT&T National. O’Hair felt some pain when walking and bending over, not swinging his club.
O’Hair shot a 2-under 68 Friday at Aronimink Golf Club. He was in a three-player group that included leader Justin Rose, who shot a 6-under 64
“I played awesome today,” O’Hair said. “I’d like to think it’s only a matter of time before those putts start going in. If those putts would start going in, I’d probably be right there with Rosey.”
O’Hair skipped his post-round practice session to rest up. He also withdrew from the John Deere Classic, where he scored his first career PGA victory in 2005, so he’s healthy for the British Open. O’Hair is scheduled for an MRI on Tuesday for what his trainer suspects is a bulging disc. He’s increased his stretching to help his tight hamstrings.
“I just hope it hangs in there for me,” he said.
PAYBACK: Tom Pernice Jr. was right on the cut line of 3 over. His chances looked even bleaker considering he still had to play the par-3 eighth hole, which was 220 yards and had such a tough pin that it ranked the toughest of the second round at Aronimink and yielded only five birdies.
One of them belonged to Pernice.
He hit a 3-iron utility club as pure as he could to about 30 feet behind the hole and made the birdie putt to ensure making the cut.
“Pretty timely,” Pernice said with a smile.
He might have been owed that one. The hole was 233 yards the day before, and Pernice hit his 2-iron utility club to 6 feet, only to miss the birdie putt.
“I guess that was payback,” he said.
GREEN EAGLES: Bo Van Pelt’s family was all about eagles – make that, Eagles – before he ever picked up a golf club.
His father, Bob Van Pelt, was the fifth-round draft pick for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1967
“It’s cool that he was drafted by the team. Great organization with a lot of history, so, good to be here,” Bo Van Pelt said.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: From Jason Day, who shot a 2-under 68, who stopped himself short when asked about Tiger Woods potentially losing his intimidation factor. “The intimidation factor, it’s only there when you – it’s obviously still there. Once he starts winning again, it’s going to be very easy to get that back.”