Road To The Olympic Games

Golf

Graham DeLaet pushing for spot at Rio Olympics

If Canada's Olympic golf roster was set today, Graham DeLaet would be going to Rio 2016. But over the past number of weeks, his physical and mental health has been cause for concern.

Canadian golfer dealing with physical, mental health issues.

Canadian golfer Graham DeLaet is still in contention for the Rio Olympics. (Delayna Earley/The Associated Press)

If Canada's Olympic golf roster was set today, Graham DeLaet would be going to Rio 2016. But over the past number of weeks, his physical and mental health has been cause for concern.

"It's disappointing what I did with my back here because I was starting to feel better from a mental standpoint," said DeLaet. "That's what I was kind of struggling with a few weeks back."

The Weyburn, Sask. native is dealing with a back injury right now, but anxiety on the course forced him to withdraw from a PGA event in June.

The two top-ranked Canadian golfers will represent the country in Rio. Right now, DeLaet is No. 2 just weeks before the Games. The cutoff for rankings is the second week of July.

"I feel like I've regressed a little bit because I don't know where I'm at," said DeLaet. "I haven't hit a shot in at least a week now."

DeLaet plans to play in his first event next week since withdrawing from the Memorial Tournament. He knows there's a lot at stake, as every tournament will determine whether he's playing for Canada in Rio.

"There's something about playing for 35 million people and just playing for your family or that paycheck or those points. It's something I hope I get to experience."

Mutual respect, admiration between Canadian golfers

DeLaet was in Saskatoon this week taking part in his second annual charity event and spending some time with friends and family. He sat back and watched former Masters champion Mike Weir and former NHL players play.

Weir and DeLaet have formed a bond off the course over the last number of years. DeLaet says without Weir he wouldn't be where he is today.

"He really inspired me to chase my dreams and realize that as a Canadian you can do big things in golf," said DeLaet. "He was definitely my golfing hero growing up."

Weir is now one of DeLaet's biggest fans.

"I'm always cheering him on," said Weir. "I want him to do well and hope he gets his back situated because he has a lot of great golf ahead of him."

As for Olympic aspirations for one of the most prolific Canadian golfers ever, Weir knows it's a long shot.

"I would love to be on that team as well but I have just played so poorly and battled injuries," said Weir. "I'm out of the running unless I do something great here in the next three weeks."

Both DeLaet and Weir plan to play at this year's Canadian Open in late July at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont. For DeLaet, he's hoping it's a tune up for the 2016 Olympic Games.

"It would be special," said DeLaet. "This is the first time in over a hundred years that golf is back in the Olympics and I want to be there."

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