Graham DeLaet knows his priorities.
Even his own Twitter page says it all under his profile description: “Dad, husband, golfer …”
Yep, that’s right: Dad and husband first. Golfer comes next. With no return date to the PGA Tour yet in sight, the eight-year PGA Tour pro has been busy as a family man with wife Ruby and their twins, Roscoe and Lyla.
“The golf part is frustrating, obviously,” admits the 36-year-old native of Weyburn, who hasn’t played on the PGA Tour since last October, “but they mean more to me than anything else in the world. That has been the one nice thing about being home a lot is spending time with the kids and family.”
The entire DeLaet clan is back in Saskatoon this week for the annual Graham Slam charity golf event to raise funds for the Graham and Ruby DeLaet Foundation, which is focused on improving the health and wellness of children and supporting the development of junior golfers at all stages.
In past years, DeLaet has been able to give a golf demonstration and show off trick shots on the driving range. It was a no-go Thursday, with his health preventing him from doing so at the Willows Golf and Country Club. He apologized to a crowd made up mostly of juniors from across Canada who will be playing in this weekend’s DeLaet Cup, saying he has “a bit of a back issue.”
“There’s no question that the No. 1 thing for me are my two kids,” said DeLaet. “Obviously, I want to get back out playing. I plan on it. I miss it a lot. But the silver lining has been I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with Roscoe and Lyla and Ruby. Even if we were on the road, they’re still on the road with you but you’re at the course for seven to eight hours a day and, when you get home, you’re tired and it’s not real quality time you spend with your kids. Over the past six months, I’ve had a lot of that, so it’s been nice.
“(Ruby) is probably sick of me,” Graham joked. “‘Get back playing,’ she says.”
Not exactly true. Ruby doesn’t appear to mind the extra help around the house. She has also had to adjust.
“It’s been really helpful — it’s been really nice — but it has been different,” she admits. “We just don’t ever get that much time together (otherwise) and opportunities to do things as a family that don’t involve golf. I think now, when we do go back to travelling again, we’re going to re-learn it a little bit. He left for a week and a half recently, and I was, like, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ We used to have him go for two and a half weeks and now it’s like one week and it’s weird.”
DeLaet, who turned pro in 2006, has racked up $11,242,347 in earnings on the PGA Tour since 2010. He’s earned a pretty good living along the way. Other than chasing an elusive PGA Tour victory, the main thing driving him is a desire to have Roscoe and Lyla be able to appreciate what he’s done, DeLaet said.
“You see other kids in the locker room, walking though. I want to Roscoe to come by and see Ernie Els and (Phil) Mickelson and get pictures with them. It means as much to me (as playing). I need to play at least another three or four years to be able to get to that point where they can actually tell their friends and be proud of me. I think they will be when they figure it all out.”
Ruby said that it’s important for Roscoe and Lyla “to have their own memories” of their father as a PGA Tour player.
The twins are 2-1/2 years old now, growing their independence as children will do.
“They’re great. Growing all the time,” says Graham. “They’re the best.”
“They’re becoming little people now,” adds Ruby. “They’re challenging.”
Graham’s other challenge is getting back to playing on the Tour following a stem cell treatment for ongoing back issues.
“It’s a little up in the air right now,” he admits. “I’m basically back at the stage where they can figure out what the problem is and what the next step is. I’m seeing different doctors. I’ve been kind of going to different places and seeing different doctors, trying to put it all together and see what the next step is. That’s really about it.”
But he’s not giving up. DeLaet has not entertained the thought of never playing golf again.
“Oh, no, there’s no chance,” he says. “I’m going to get back playing sooner than later.”