DUBLIN, Ohio – His team might have lost, but Graham DeLaet won a lot of admirers.
The Canadian made a lot of friends and headlines with his play in the Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village.
DeLaet, who grew up in Saskatchewan and now lives in that well-known golf destination of Boise, Idaho, led the International side with 3 1/2 points after posting a 3-1-1 record.
He paired with Jason Day to win both of their four-balls matches, then the two halved with Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley in a foursomes match completed Sunday morning. DeLaet saved the day by chipping in for birdie on the final hole.
"It was unbelievable," DeLaet said about the shot. "Just one of the coolest feelings in my life, really."
Then DeLaet beat another rookie at international competition, Jordan Spieth, in singles. He sealed his 1-up victory, again on the 18th hole and again with another hole-out, this one by blasting out of the gaping bunker left of the green.
He was draped in the Canadian flag as he left the green.
"Pretty crazy finish the last two times here," he said. "I executed them both well, but there's some luck involved as well. I mean, it's super exciting to finish like that. To win the match here and then to halve the match this morning, it makes it even better."
International Captain Nick Price was impressed with DeLaet at a meeting of potential International team members at the Memorial Tournament (also at Muirfield Village) in May.
"We walked out of the meeting and Graham came up to me and says, `I'm going to make this team. I really want to make this team badly,'" Price said. "He's been a wonderful team player this whole week. Every time he walks into the (team room) he's bouncing. He's got a great disposition and he smiles a lot. And he's a hell of a player."
Even though the United States won, DeLaet came away pleased with his play and assured that he can compete with anyone.
"I definitely believe deep inside I feel more confidence in myself now," the 31-year-old said. "These are the best players in the world and this American team is just loaded with talent. To be able to come in here and play well against them means a lot."
DUELING FANS: The International side was outnumbered in cheers, but made up for it with color and wit.
There were two classic lines by the Aussie-based team-support group, The Fanatics, on Sunday.