DUBLIN, OHIO – It was his year-long goal to make the team and now that he's here and wearing the International colours, Graham DeLaet looks positively giddy.
As he toured around Muirfield Village on Tuesday, DeLaet was all smiles, drinking in the atmosphere and getting to know his teammates that much better.
"It's been so much fun," he said after his round. "It's exceeded everything and it's only Tuesday. Just getting together [Monday] night, we had a great time. It's going to be an amazing week. Obviously it's going to be a hell of a lot better if we win."
DeLaet is watching and learning and trying to feel the camaraderie. He's been playing table tennis in the team room, watching a little football with the boys and unwrapping all the swag that comes with a spot on the team.
"It's been cool," he said. "My wife has gotten more free stuff than I have, so she is really excited."
DeLaet said his wife received some Lululemon workout clothes, Hunter boots and "a lot more stuff that I don't really know what it is. But she's excited about it."
If the timing works, DeLaet said he'd also try to expose some of his teammates to a great Canadian pastime, NHL hockey. The Columbus Blue Jackets play the Calgary Flames – DeLaet's team – here Friday night and it appears a group might head into town to catch some of the action.
However, first and foremost this week is golf and DeLaet will be counted on to help the Rest Of The Worlders try to end this stretch of losing to the Yanks.
He arrived at the Jack Nicklaus course at the end of a long and successful season that saw him shoot up the Official World Golf Ranking from 178th at the start of the year to 32nd. With great ball-striking and tremendous accuracy, he's rightfully earned his spot among the game's best.
Even though his shots seemed a little loose on the course Tuesday – he attributed that to his timing being off after a travel day – he was still impressive to his captain, Nick Price.
"He's probably rounded off a few of the rough edges that he had in the first couple of years as a professional," Price said. "He's learned how to play the game, and he plays it so beautifully. I mean, he's a great driver of the ball, great ball striker. So it was easy to find him someone to play with to be honest. It's great, we really needed a Canadian on the team, too."
"There's nothing set in stone," the Canadian said. "You know, the captain put these together for us to play together and see how everyone gelled."
Price has polled his players, asking whom they wanted to play with and said he has a pretty good idea of his lineup that will start Thursday. He's hoping it will be one that can stop the International slide in this event that's turned it into a bit of a snooze-fest, compared to the tension-filled drama of the Ryder Cup.
For now, the Internationals are talking a good game and perhaps fueled by the naivety of the seven rookies, filled with bravado.
"I think guys have confidence," DeLaet said of his side. "You have to. To come in here and not believe in yourselves, I mean, you have no chance of winning. We're all playing with confidence and speaking confidently every time. We have got each other's back."