Talking Rio 2016 with Graham DeLaet

theScore’s sponsored Web.Com Tour golfer, Mackenzie Hughes, sat down with fellow Canadian and PGA Tour professional, Graham DeLaet​, to discuss his Canadian Olympic team selection and his overall season thus far.

Mac Hughes: Graham, first of all, congrats on becoming an Olympian. What are you most looking forward to while you’re down there?

Graham DeLaet: Thanks a lot. It’s pretty exciting. As a kid growing up playing hockey, you always watch your idols wearing the white and red playing for Team Canada. For me to go out there and represent Canada in my sport is going to be an awesome experience. I’m really looking forward to following in the footsteps of many former Canadian athletes and hockey players that I looked up to from a young age.

We are staying in the athlete village, so it’s going to be pretty cool to hang out with David (Hearn) and other Olympians, roam the village, get to know some of the athletes, and see how they prepare for their respective sports. It will be an unforgettable experience for sure.

MH: You guys do this every week, but how do you prepare for a course that you haven’t played and have minimal intel on, in terms of what to expect? How do you go into a unique week like this?

GD: You just have to attack it like any new site on the PGA Tour. Yes, we are fortunate to have venues that are repeated and familiar. However, there are several times throughout the season where it’s a new course and you need a different game plan. I try not to think too much about it. I go out there and play my practice rounds and get a feel for the course and the weather conditions, wind patterns, different grasses, and I try to do my thing by hitting fairways and greens.

Every course is different, but I like to attack new courses with a particular strategy and it will be the same for the Olympic golf course.

MH: What is up for you schedule-wise, post-Rio?

GD: Right now I’m just focusing on the Olympics in Rio. Once I’m back, I’ll regroup and figure out the best possible schedule for the rest of the season.

Related: Talking Rio 2016 with David Hearn

MH: You shocked the sports world when you showed up at this year’s RBC Canadian Open without the beard. Will we see a beard comeback anytime soon?

GD: The beard will be back (laughs). I just don’t know exactly when I’ll bring it back. It’s one of those things where I’ll let it grow when I feel like it’s time. The main reason I shaved it was for my kids, the twins. I kind of wanted to snuggle and cuddle with them and get closer to them. It was getting pretty long (laughs). They were kind of tugging and pulling on it and couldn’t really touch their dad’s face. So that was the main reason, but I still love the whole culture of the beard scene. You kind of give a nod to others with solid beards when you walk by, so I can’t really do that anymore (laughs). It will be back for sure, I just don’t know when.

MH: You’ve had a busy schedule this summer, golf-wise, but off the course as well. You were obviously a huge part of the SIGA Dakota Dunes Open ft. Graham Slam (on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada), an event that I’ve played several times myself, the Graham and Ruby DeLaet Foundation, and you also launched a new beer, Prairie Baard, which I’m looking forward to trying.

Maybe you could touch on the event, the foundation, and the beer.

GD: I sat down with my team about a year-and-a-half ago to discuss business opportunities outside of the golf course. Ruby and I have a passion for wine, but when you look inside at who I am, I’m Canadian and I enjoy a good beer.

My team and I got together and created a plan where we would connect the contents, ingredients, and packaging of the beer and its identity with the Prairies, where I’m from. We launched the beer this summer and it’s been really successful. We are excited for the future for sure. We feel like we have a great brand and product. It’s been a fun process building the brand with my team at SportBox, hopefully taking it across the country, and seeing where else we can take it in the future.

As for the event, we’ve previously held one in Saskatoon around Ruby and my foundation, and we wanted to kick it up a notch this year. There was an opportunity with my home province event on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada to get involved.

We wanted to expand the action around the event, and the Graham and Ruby DeLaet Foundation. In the past it’s been a single-day event, so we extended it to seven days. I brought in some of my good friends to do a fun exhibition match called Graham Slam. Was a really great day. Mike Weir came this year because I was injured and couldn’t play. So it was really nice of Mike to come and fill in. We had Mike Commodore and Ray Whitney come out, along with Theo Fleury. Theo actually jammed out with his band the evening of Graham Slam, so that was pretty cool.

The goal for Ruby and I with the foundation is to continue supportng junior golf and both children’s health and well-being in the province of Saskatchewan, and this is just one of the things that Ruby and I do to give back to the community. Anyone interested in donating to the foundation can do so via grahamdelaet.com/#foundation

MH: Awesome. Well thanks for taking the time, Graham. All the best in Rio and the rest of the season on the PGA Tour.

GD: Thanks Mac, it was my pleasure. All the best with you and the rest of your season too. I know you’re playing some good golf lately on the Web.com Tour, so keep it rolling!

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