NAPA, Calif. – Graham DeLaet has played just five PGA Tour events in the past three years due to a back injury that required surgery. During his layoff, DeLaet became both a grill master cooking with his Green Egg and quite proficient at chipping with just his right hand — as he showed off during the first round of the Safeway Open.
“I’m just trying to get it as close to the holes as I can,” DeLaet said of his unique chipping style. “I had four or five of them today that were all pretty good results. I’d rather be using two hands but I’ve gotten pretty good with one and that’s what I’m doing now.”
DeLaet suffered from the chip yips in 2016, and withdrew from the Memorial and took a break from golf due to “extreme anxiety.”
Wait for it. @GrahamDeLaet's trying something new. pic.twitter.com/FF9VdMVmbc
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) September 10, 2020
“It’s been pretty well documented that I was having some issues but when I use one hand I don’t get those thoughts and the anxiety,” DeLaet said. “I’ve put in time with practicing and feel pretty comfortable and calm doing it. I’d like to get back to two hands but I almost chipped in twice.”
DeLaet played in the Sony Open in Hawaii in January, but hurt his back again at the Farmers Insurance Open and withdrew. He shot 2-over 74 on Thursday at Silverado Resort and Spa’s North Course.
“It held up pretty good today,” he said. “It’s never going to be 100 percent. At some point, I had to give it a go. I knew it was going to take a little while to get my feet wet. I was a little nervous the first few holes.”