Golfer DeLaet using hockey star as caddie during Rio games
When Canadian golfer Graham DeLaet found himself without a caddie ahead of the Rio Olympics he made the unusual decision to draft in a hockey player as replacement.
DeLaet, who finished the second day five shots behind leader Marcus Fraser in joint sixth place, lost his usual bagman, newly married Jules Trudeau, before the Games. DeLaet subsequently turned to his neighbour Ray Whitney to carry his bags, a recently retired veteran of the National Hockey League and 2006 Stanley Cup winner, and whose career spanned 17 years.
In golf, a caddy (or caddie) carries a player's bag and clubs, and offers advice, support and strategic suggestions.
Whitney is a scratch golfer, the lowest handicap, and so knows how to play the game. He also knows what it means to play for his country having represented Canada at four world ice hockey championships, though on each of those four occasions he returned home without a medal.
Now working as a golf caddie in Rio, "Wiz" is hoping to end that jinx and help land DeLaet on the Olympic podium.
"I was captain of Team Canada in Germany in 2010," Whitney said. "I've been there (in medal contention), been a part of all that. I hope I can help (DeLaet)."
Whitney, who scored 385 goals and 1,064 points in 1,330 career games in the NHL, said he has so far simply tried to keep out of DeLaet's way.
"It was great, they (top golfers) walk quicker, you've got to keep up, clean clubs, get the next one out," said Whitney. "It was smoother than I thought it was going to be. You get a little nervous thinking about all the things you have to do.”
Whitney has previously caddied for women's seven-time major winner Juli Inkster and he follows in the footsteps of fellow NHL retiree Dan Quinn, who has periodically been bagman for Ernie Els.