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Grill's the thrill: PGA golfer Graham DeLaet displays passion for barbecue grilling

You know Graham DeLaet, the golfer. Now meet Graham DeLaet, the Foodie and grill-master.

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If the Food Network ever staged a barbeque cook-off competition among professional athletes, PGA Tour golfer Graham DeLaet would be all in.

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No question.

“Oh, I would do that for sure,” DeLaet admitted without any hesitation.

“I don’t know if I’d win, but I’d definitely be interested in doing it.

“There are some pretty good cooks out there.”

Could fellow PGA golfer Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo, for example, live up to his name and give DeLaet a run for his cook-off charcoal?

“Sounds like he should be able to,” DeLaet said with a chuckle, adding that Scott Brown and Tim Clark would be among the apron-draped forces to be reckoned with.

“I know Scott Brown showed me a pretty sick set-up. He’s got four or five different smokers and a grill and a pizza oven outside. I know he’s really good. I know there are quite a few guys who are really into it. Tim Clark is probably one of the best cooks (among golfers) I’ve been around. That’s kind of in the blood of the South Africans. They call it a braai. They basically cook for dozens of people, just massive amounts of meat, kind of like what they do in Argentina.”

DeLaet — a Saskatchewan-born golfer with $11,265,285 in total money winnings on the PGA Tour since 2010 — is currently idle on the PGA Tour while he deals with chronic back issues. He’s been spending most of his time at home in Boise, Idaho, preparing for yet another comeback following his latest back procedure.

Off the course, he’s been grilling up a storm.

He’s a passionate grill-master who’s teamed up with the Turkey Farmers of Canada for a national marketing campaign to promote the use of turkey on the grill this summer.

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“It’s been fun.,” offered DeLaet. “It’s a lean and versatile meat so they sent a film crew to my house and my backyard and we did some turkey breasts, some turkey drumsticks and then some grilled snack burgers. So all the recipes you can find on thinkturkey.ca

“It was pretty fun.”

Always a fan of the outdoor grill, DeLaet found himself becoming a bit of an aficionado after receiving a ‘Green Egg’ at the Sanderson Farms championship PGA Tour event in Jackson, Mississippi.

“The gift for all the players was a Green Egg and so, at that time, I had basically used just a normal gas grill or whatever,” he recalled. “That’s when I first started, like, smoking meats and different kind of stuff. I just found that I really enjoyed it. So I was kind of into it and then, during the (COVID-19) pandemic, being at home so much, (wife) Ruby and I spent a lot of our time (cooking meals). She’s an awesome cook. She does more of the indoor stuff; I’d do the meat outside and she’d prep the rest of it.

“I don’t know. It’s kind of just something that sort of organically happened over the last little while, but we’re totally into it as a family. My kids like cooking and they like helping me light the charcoal and all that kind of stuff, so it’s cool.”

Turkey is one of the many meats DeLaet and his family have tested out.

“We did turkey for Thanksgiving and I smoked it in the Green Egg and it was, like, literally the best Thanksgiving turkey I’ve ever had and Ruby said that, too. At first, I thought she was saying that to make me feel good, but, six months later, she said, ‘when we do turkey, we’ve got to smoke it again — that was the best Thanksgiving turkey we ever had.’ It definitely gives it a bit of a different taste and everything when it’s smoked instead of done in the oven. It’s good. I love it.”

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DeLaet will try just about anything on the barbecue. Could you say he’s long off the tee and short ribs on the barby?

“There are some things that I do well,” said DeLaet. “I’m always trying different stuff. It’s kind of one of those things where, the more you do, obviously, you kind of make some mistakes along the way and I keep a little journal of the recipes that have worked really well.

“Most of the time, I’ll look on-line and I’ll find something that I’ll try. If it doesn’t turn out that great, I’ll try a different one. I’ll list what I’ve used just so I can go back to that in my little family recipe book as opposed to the Internet where there’s a million different ways to do everything.”

GOLF COMMENTARY ON TSN

When he hasn’t been actively playing on the Tour, DeLaet has been dabbling as a golf commentator on TV with The Sports Network.

“It’s been different,” he said of his part-time gig. “Obviously being on the other side of the ropes, you see guys you’ve competed against and played with for over a decade and they’re asking you, ‘what are you doing over there?’ Especially the first couple of times, I don’t think it was embarrassing but it kind of felt like it was too early in my career to be doing that. At the same time, it’s been fun and the guys at TSN — and I told them this at the U.S. Open — I said, ‘listen, if you guys weren’t fun to hang around with, go for supper with and have a couple of beers with every night, I would have been a one-and-done and I wouldn’t be doing this anymore.’ But they make it pretty easy. Jamie Reidel, who’s the producer for all the golf stuff, he’s awesome. He’s like a guy I would hang out with every day off the golf course or whatever type of thing. Bob (Weeks) is great to work with. The camera guys are, too. I’m getting more and more comfortable. I still think I need to get some more reps in, and I could definitely improve on what I’m doing, but, all in all, it’s been at least something to do and it gives me just kind of an option, maybe, when my career is over.

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“I don’t think it’s something I’d do full-time because I’ve done full-time travelling for the last 15 years of my life with golf around the world. Now, my family is much more important than going out to do that, but, if I was playing, that’s a different story… But maybe six times a year or so, all the majors, and the Ryder Cup, and that kind of thing. That’s something I could see myself doing.”

Graham DeLaet reacts on the fifth hole during round two of the Safeway Open at Silverado Resort on September 11, 2020 in Napa, California.
Graham DeLaet reacts on the fifth hole during round two of the Safeway Open at Silverado Resort on September 11, 2020 in Napa, California. Photo by Sean M. Haffey /Getty Images

DELAET PLANS COMEBACK THIS FALL

DeLaet, 39, doesn’t want to be idle for too much longer. His most recent comeback plans call for a return to the PGA circuit for the 2021-22 season.

“I still hope to play this fall, at least play the last 19 events (remaining as part of his PGA Tour medical extension status) and keep going from there, as long as my back holds up.”

DeLaet has those 19 events left to attain enough FedExCup points to retain his PGA Tour card.

“Ideally, I’d like to start the first event of the next season, which is the Napa, California, event,” he suggested. “That’s kind of what I have my sights set on right now.”

The Fortinet Championship is slated for Sept. 16-19 in Napa Valley.

DeLaet was saying how he was feeling good — “the best I have in years” — following the radio-frequency ablation treatment for his lower back.

“Honestly I was telling a bunch of guys (just last month),” noted DeLaet. “They were asking me how I was doing and, from the day-to-day standpoint, I’ve felt the best I have in years, in all honesty. The radio-frequency ablation that I had done months ago, it’s definitely helped and worked. I mean, just like the things, like getting out of bed in the morning, getting up off the couch and just not having to take a couple of those ‘oooh’ hard few first steps until you kind of loosen up or whatever. Just being outside and hanging out with the kids, with all the runs and bikes, being able to stand on my feet for 30 minutes to an hour where it used to be, after 15 minutes, I’d have to kind of go down or have to sit down and just kind of rest a little bit. There’s no question I’m in better shape now than I was back then. I’ve been working out for the last couple of months, trying to get strong again.

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“From a golf standpoint, I don’t know exactly where I’m at yet.”

Up until July, DeLaet had been playing once or twice a week but also riding a cart and not into full practice mode either.

“It’s not like I’m playing every single day,” he explained, adding that practicing and walking the golf course was the next step.

“I’ve got to start testing that out and see how my body holds up. I’ve obviously need to play multiple weeks in a row, play six out of seven days and put in the time to be able to compete.”

dzary@postmedia.com

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