Somehow, some way, Graham DeLaet got old. Not old as in 'ready for the old folks home,' but old as in he's not a wide-eyed kid on the PGA Tour anymore.
The Canadian will turn 33 in a couple of weeks and is at the start of his sixth season on the big tour. It's easy to say he's hitting his prime as a professional golfer.
He'll tee it up for the first time in 2015 next week in Hawaii at the SONY Open and is hoping to play four of the first five stops on the west coast, missing only Pebble Beach.
"It's so funny," DeLaet reflected on his veteran status. "I'm amazed at how fast it's all gone by. When I first got out there everything was so new and now I feel at home."
As DeLaet has found, one of the issues with getting older is that you start to feel the aches and pains a little more. Year after year of swinging and swinging, and swinging again add up.
That was the case at the end of last year when he was forced to withdraw from two big events in Asia with a neck ailment. He attributes that to the relentless schedule he had leading into those stops, playing seven of eight weeks from the British Open through the BMW Championship.
"It really takes its toll," DeLaet stated. "You get to the end of the year and everyone is pretty banged up - hips, knees, backs. You don't think of golf as an impact sport but it is."
Yet with time off and lots of rehab, the Saskatchewan native who has battled a long list of aches and pains in his career, declared himself fit and ready to go.
"I've been playing golf six days a week in December and January with no problems," he said. "Really I'm healthy, or at least as healthy as I'm going to be."
Goal No. 1 is to get himself back into the top 50 in the Official World Ranking, which opens up a lot of doors to tournaments such as majors and World Golf Championship events.
Withdrawals from the CIMB Classic and the no-cut WGC-HSBC Championship in China led to the drop for DeLaet. As a result, he's currently not in the field for the 2015 Masters.
"It was a bummer not getting that invitation in December," said DeLaet, who played Augusta National for the first time last year. "I feel like I'm playing well enough right now so I'm hopeful."
If he can climb into the top 50 (he's currently 58th) prior to the year's first major, he'll get into the field. If the top 50 is goal No. 1, then getting on the International Team for the Presidents Cup is a close second.
After his maiden run with the team in 2013 where he was among the stars of Nick Price's squad, he's anxious for another try.
Another thing to add to that list would be his first win, something many felt would have happened by now.
"I'm not worried about it," DeLaet said. "I've been close a lot of times and been one shot out of a playoff a bunch of times. I know I'm playing well enough and I feel like it's going to happen. I don't feel any pressure and in the past when I've won I know that you can't force it.
"It's just going to take the right week when you get a break or a putt drops or something goes your way. It's not easy. Even opposite field events or quote-unquote weaker field events are hard to win. There aren't too many guys out here who can win when they don't have their best stuff."
One thing DeLaet is excited about for this year is the expanded company he'll have on tour. Six Canadians – including three rookies – is a sign that good things are happening in Canadian golf, he said.
"It's great seeing Adam [Hadwin] and Nick [Taylor] and Roger [Sloan] up there. There's a lot of our guys playing good golf right now. Even the amateurs, with Brooke Henderson and everything. It's a good time."
With his health back and a new year set to start in Hawaii, it's good times indeed.