Graham DeLaet has competed on the PGA TOUR since 2010. His best seasons came in 2013, when he finished eighth in the FedExCup standings. A year later, he picked up two second-place finishes in back-to-back weeks—at the Farmers Insurance Open and the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Born in Saskatchewan, the Canadian, 34, has four international victories, including three on the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada. He has represented Canada on two World Cup teams and competed in the 2013 Presidents Cup, where he went 3-1-1 in his five matches, defeating Jordan Spieth in singles by holing a bunker shot at No. 18. He recently sat down to discuss what it means to represent Canada as golf makes its return to the Olympics.
What are your thoughts about making the Canadian Olympic team?
It’s a pretty proud moment. I always watched the Olympics when I was growing up, and to be able to be an Olympian is pretty special. The closer and closer it’s getting, the more it’s starting to sink in. I think it’s going to be a pretty special week.
Did you set a preseason goal to make the team?
It was one of my main goals starting this year to be on the team, so I’m happy I was able to hold on. I hadn’t been playing my best golf, but I played well enough to make the team. So it’s going to be pretty special. You can’t control what other guys do, so you’re just trying to play good golf mainly.
What is going to be the difference between playing in the Olympics and representing your country like you have in other team events?
There’s going to be more eyes on it. Playing the World Cup is a lot of fun. I’ve been able to represent Canada in a number of different things, as a professional and as an amateur, but this is different. There’s so much more pride in the Olympics, especially for Canadians. We’re a very proud country, and I think it’s a privilege to be able to play for your country. It’s not a chore. I always wanted to be on the team and was planning on going. Obviously there are some risks going down there, but we’re going to take extra precautions and do what we need to do. But It was something I wasn’t going to miss.
Canada always does well in the Winter Olympics. Do the athletes in the Summer Olympics receive as much attention?
We don’t have a chance as a country to lead in medal counts or golds like we do in the Winter Olympics, but at the same time we take pride and there’s so much support for our athletes nationwide.
What are you looking forward to about making the trip to Brazil?
Rubbing shoulders with other Olympians will be neat. Seeing people from other backgrounds. We do this professionally, but a lot of those people train for four years to peak at the right time so it’s a little bit different. I’m looking forward to talking to some of those different people.
Will you be participating in the Opening Ceremonies?
I’m not sure if I’m going to go down for the Opening Ceremonies. I may stay here and play the Travelers Championship (in Connecticut). It’s one of my favorite tournaments of the year. So my schedule is in limbo a little, but I’m excited to get down there.
Do you know the women who made the Canadian golf team?
I’ve met Alena Sharp. I’ve never met Brooke Henderson, but she’s playing fantastic, one of the best in the world, really. Don’t know if we’ll be down at the same time, but obviously I wish them good luck. Brooke has got as good a chance at a gold medal as any of the men or women there, so that would be pretty awesome.
What is going to be the best part of being a member of the Olympic team?
I just think it’s going to be really neat to be an Olympian. When I was home in Canada a few weeks ago, so many people were asking me about it. It’s something we hold with so much pride in our country. It should be like that everywhere, and it is in most places. For someone to introduce you as, “Here is Graham, he played in the Olympics in 2016.” I think that’s pretty neat.
What would it be like to bring home a medal?
A gold medal especially! I can’t really describe what it would feel like. I’m sure I would get pretty emotional standing on the podium when they were playing the national anthem, but I’ve got a lot of good golf to play in front of me before I have to deal with that.