RIO DE JANEIRO – Just two months ago, Graham DeLaet withdrew from the Memorial citing “incredible anxiety while chipping/pitching.”
Now he’s in the hunt at the Olympics, an event a Canadian won the last time golf was in the Games 112 years ago.
DeLaet took a month off and returned at the Barracuda Championship. He tied for eighth place at the Barbasol Championship, then missed the cut at his beloved Canadian Open a couple weeks ago when he struggled again with his short game.
“I’m still dealing with it a little bit,” he said Thursday after shooting a first-round 5-under 66 at the Olympic Golf Course that consisted of six birdies and a lone bogey. DeLaet is three shots behind Australia’s Marcus Fraser.
The great thing about this course, he said, is that he has different options around the greens and he doesn’t always have to rely solely on chipping the ball. It’s acceptable to putt or hit a bump-and-run around many of these greens.
“I’m battling through it, so luckily today I hit the ball pretty well,” he said.
DeLaet didn’t do anything specific during his time off in June saying he needed a “break for my brain” while he spent time with his twins, who are not even a year old.
“Everything is feeling better and better all the time,” he said. “I know that when I finally get through the whole thing, it’s just going to be a little blip on my radar when I look back on my career and that’s how I look going forward.”