Daly hopes to resume his show minus the circus

By Associated PressApril 9, 2009, 4:00 pm
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AUGUSTA, Ga. ' The fans were checking out the hats, T-shirts, towels and golf flags covering the folding tables, but what theyd really come to see was still inside the oversized RV parked across the street from Augusta National.
Wheres John today? one asked. Recovering?
Considering John is John Daly, the question wasnt unreasonable. Daly was one of the most entertaining golfers in the world, winning two major titles with his booming drives and go-for-broke style. He also was a hard-drinking, hard-living, train-wreck-waiting-to-happen kind of guy, and you never knew which one you were going to get.
I always talk about the things in my life that have happened because it might help somebody, Daly said Thursday. We all make mistakes, hell, everybody knows that. But most people are too embarrassed or too scared to admit them. Im not, its part of life.
Only a few weeks from the end of his six-month suspension from the PGA Tour and slimmer than hes been in years after surgery to shrink his stomach, Daly is kicking off what could be called his comeback tour at the Masters. The money he makes from shilling his merchandise ' cash only, please ' will help him stave off bankruptcy. The 40-plus pounds hes lost in the last eight weeks will help his prodigious game get back under control.
But its the reaction from the fans that seems to matter most. Its been more than five years since he won a tournament, two since he was a factor with any consistency. Hes fallen so far his No. 783 world ranking trails some guy from that golfing hotbed of Norway.
Yet fans are as gaga over Daly as they were back when he was golfs favorite sideshow, buying his hats, clothes and books, and lining up just for the chance to get a picture taken with him. Aside from Tiger and a few others, the guys playing across the street dont get that kind of love.
I cant believe how much hes been embraced this week, said Anna Cladakis, Dalys girlfriend. That, for me and for John, was important. It was the icing on the cake. After youve been practicing and losing weight and for everybody to come back and embrace him that really has helped John.
That Daly is spectacularly talented was never a question. You dont go from the last alternate to a major champion, as he did at the 1991 PGA Championship, unless youve got considerable game. And you sure dont win a second major ' the British Open, no less ' by being lucky.
But his personal life sounded like a bad country and western song. His two trips to alcohol rehab, four marriages, gambling losses and other off-the-course episodes have made him a carnival act to some and a cult figure to others. He doesnt have any sponsors for the first time in 17 years, and is pretty close to declaring bankruptcy. He made millions in endorsements over the years, but said he loaned a lot of people a lot of money.
After a series of incidents last season, including police in North Carolina throwing him in jail to sober up, the PGA Tour gave him a six-month timeout.
Youre always embarrassed a little bit, but you know, you take it in stride and go on and say, `Hey, everybody makes mistakes, Daly said. Most of the stuff thats happened in the last year or two, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and people judged it the wrong way. I know I didnt do anything wrong, but when you look at perception, its always wrong.
People judge and perceive instead of getting the facts about my life, he added. They want to make up stuff or start stuff because theyre so used to doing it.
After his weight, always a struggle for the 5-foot-11 Daly, ballooned to 280 pounds, he underwent Lap-Band surgery in February. A silicone band was placed around the upper portion of his stomach, shrinking its size and limiting how much he can eat. Hes lost 42 pounds so far, and has gone from wearing XXXL shirts to extra large.
Hes on a high-protein diet, and what he does eat has to be chewed and chewed and chewed so it will be soft enough to swallow. Alcohol? Daly said hell have the occasional sip of a drink or a beer, but thats it.
It takes me about an hour to drink one beer, just sipping on it, he said. I drink a little bit, but not much.
Added Cladakis, Hell come back and say, `It just doesnt taste right anymore.
Daly is also focusing on his game. Hes working with Rick Smith, Phil Mickelsons former coach, and plans to head to Europe later this month to play in Spain, Italy and Ireland, as well as at the PGA Championship in England. Daly said his long game is really good, but his short game is taking a little longer.
As for putting, lets just say theres a noticeable difference when theres no longer a belly to get in the way.
Im not having to lean back because my guts hanging over, Daly said. Me and Rick have been trying to shorten my stroke. The shorter putts are all right, but the long putts, my speeds way off. Its been tough. But Ive told Rick, whatever you want me to do, Im going to do.
What I love about him is he said, `Were not building something just to get you by, like youve always done, and hopefully you win. Were going to get you where you can stay more consistent.
Daly hopes to be back on the PGA Tour in time for the Colonial, which is May 28-31. While Tiger has a firm grip on the tours spotlight, theres also a pack of youngsters who can bomb it the way Daly did ' without the extracurriculars.
Still, Daly hopes theres still a place in the game for him.
I think this time its for me, said Daly, who turns 43 later this month. I dont have to really prove a lot anymore. Ive just got to prove some stuff to myself.

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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

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    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

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