Daly Over the River and Through the Woods

By Associated PressAugust 10, 2007, 4:00 pm
PGA ChampionshipTULSA, Okla. -- If Tiger Woods is a Rembrandt, John Daly is a paint-by-number Elvis on black velvet. Tacky, for sure. Yet there's something oddly endearing about it, and you can't help but gawk.
Especially when Daly pulls stunts like he did Friday on No. 10 at Southern Hills.
At 366 yards, downhill and with a big dogleg to the right, a 4- or 5-iron off the tee is the smart move for this par-4. It leaves players with a short approach, and a good chance for birdie.
He waited for the green to clear, then pulled out driver and ripped it.
'We're not set up to find that shot,' a TV announcer said as the ball rocketed toward the green.
Thing is, Daly doesn't do anything by anybody's plans. Never has. Which is why, despite the blistering heat and suffocating humidity, a Tiger-sized gallery was following every move of the topsy-turvy 3-over 73 that turned him back into America's favorite side show after a brief stay atop the leaderboard at the PGA Championship.
'For some reason,' wife Sherrie said during a brief interview Friday as she walked the course, 'everyone likes John.'
He hits driver when he should hit irons. He opts for slot machines over practice rounds. He smokes cigarettes and chugs diet soda when water and an energy bar would be better.
And that fairway in front of him? Well, that's merely a suggestion.
'Do you think they would have booed him if he'd pulled out an iron?' Todd Hamilton asked after watching Daly tee off on No. 10.
Conservative is not a word that has ever existed in Daly's dictionary, and being two shots off the lead after the first round of a major wasn't going to change his mind. Even if a win -- heck, a solid showing even -- could recharge a career that has seemingly dead ended after falling to 423 in the world rankings.
So he went for every green -- and got to know just about every inch of Southern Hills' rough and woods. Of 14 fairways, he hit a measly one and that wasn't until 11 holes into the round. He duffed an easy sand shot and missed more putts than a weekend hack.
He did birdie the last hole to stay at even-par for the tournament, and in a six-way tie for ninth.
'The fairways are just so hard to hit,' Daly said. 'I just kept grinding, grinding, grinding.'
Not that fans cared. If they wanted textbook or pretty golf, they would have followed Woods or Geoff Ogilvy. Or sat home watching a tape of Jack Nicklaus. No, fans simply adore Daly because he plays like they wish they could.
His shot off the 13th tee went so far left, he was almost on the next hole over, No. 17. The sensible route would have been to punch back onto 13, and the marshals went ahead and moved the gallery to clear just such a path.
But as Daly got to the ball, his eyes darted left. That 17th fairway was wide open, calling his name. He looked at the path the marshals cleared several times, but his eyes kept going back to 17.
Finally, his caddie told everybody to move. The circus had just rolled into town.
Daly punched the ball forward, landing squarely on the 17th fairway. The players coming up the hole laughed when they saw him, and one caddie said, 'In the middle again, huh?'
But Daly knew what he was doing. He had an unobstructed -- not to mention shorter -- shot to the green, and his third shot put him within 8 feet of the hole. Fans whooped and hollered, and Daly was grinning as he lumbered to the green.
OK, so he two-putted from there. That's not the point. Daly is pure entertainment -- on and off the course.
He's a two-time major champion, but he hasn't won a PGA Tour event in three years and doesn't even have a card anymore. The closest he got to this year's Masters was an autograph session down the road at the local Hooters.
He did have a brief moment of grandeur at the British Open, but it lasted all of 15 minutes. After pitching in on the 11th hole for an eagle in the first round, he found himself as a most unlikely leader. He went on to miss the cut.
His personal life would make Jerry Springer cringe. He freely admits to drinking and gambling too much, to say nothing of that nasty nicotine habit. Sherrie is Wife No. 4 and while they've been married for six years, it hasn't exactly been domestic bliss.
Just two months ago, Daly showed up at a tour stop in Memphis with a face full of scratches that he blamed on Sherrie, saying she came after him with a steak knife. They've since reconciled. Or at least are getting along well enough for to come to Southern Hills with the kids.
Don't ask about it, though.
'That's where we end,' Sherrie Daly said.
But it's hard not to love the big lug. That's why the people keep showing up.
'I've been telling him he could win soon,' Sherrie Daly said. 'He's due. He hasn't had much luck.'
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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.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.