Daniel Goes Out Quietly Just Like She Wanted

By Associated PressNovember 13, 2007, 5:00 pm
Beth Daniel didn't want a celebration or even a cake, and she certainly didn't expect a crowd.
 
She teed off on the 18th hole at St. Andrews knowing it would be the last meaningful hole she would play, her last significant tournament in a 29-year career that brought her 33 victories, a major championship and her rightful place in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
 
It was her little secret.
 
Or so she thought.
 
'I'm going across the Swilcan Bridge,' Daniel said, 'and all of a sudden there's a camera in my face.'
 
Turns out that Judy Rankin, working for ABC Sports, caught wind of Daniel's retirement and made sure a camera crew was there to capture the moment. And when Daniel studied her yardage book for her final approach, she noticed out of the corner of her eye a small gathering that brought a wave of emotions.
 
Meg Mallon had finished an hour or so earlier and came back to watch. Juli Inkster had just finished signing her card and rushed back out to the 18th to see a longtime friend. Louise Suggs was there, too, one of the 13 founders of the LPGA Tour, who always had an eye for special moments. Daniel saw Mindy Moore, a senior vice president of the LPGA Tour, and Stephanie Louden.
 
There might have been more. It was getting difficult to see through the tears.
 
'It felt good that they would walk over and watch me finish,' she said. 'It made me really emotional.'
 
Another year in golf had its share of noteworthy moments. Tiger Woods captured his 13th major and his first FedEx Cup. Lorena Ochoa became the dominant figure in women's golf. Padraig Harrington brought Europe its first major of the millennium. Seve Ballesteros reluctantly retired in a tearful press conference at Carnoustie.
 
All of them were well-documented.
 
Daniel preferred to go quietly. She almost got her way.
 
'Beth doesn't like the hoopla,' Inkster said. 'She just wants to play golf. She loves the game. She's a true traditionalist when it comes to golf. She likes things done the right way.'
 
The word on Daniel when she turned pro was that her swing belonged on the PGA Tour. Posted to the wall in the workout room at her home in south Florida is her swing sequence from years ago in a golf magazine with the headline, 'Here's a lady who swings like a man.'
 
'I'm not sure what they meant at the time,' Daniel said with a laugh. 'If they meant it as a compliment, I took it as a compliment.'
 
Tall and slender, Daniel said she was a shrimp until growing 6 inches one summer after her freshman year of high school. Teaching pro Derek Hardy changed her roundhouse swing to one that was more upright, and Daniel turned that into one of the purest in golf.
 
That swing helped Furman to a national title, and it won Daniel U.S. Women's Amateur titles in 1975 and 1977. She turned pro two years later when the LPGA Tour was burgeoning with future Hall of Famers, from Nancy Lopez to Pat Bradley, from Patty Sheehan to Betsy King. In her second season, Daniel captured the first of three money titles.
 
In 28 years, she never finished out of the top 90 on the money list. And in 2003, at age 46, she won the Canadian Women's Open to become the oldest winner in LPGA history.
 
'She's one of the greatest players ever in women's golf,' Rankin said. 'She doesn't love the recognition, but she should get it.'
 
The Women's British Open ended on Aug. 5, and everyone remembers Ochoa finally winning that elusive major.
 
Virtually unnoticed and unspoken was the retirement of a Hall of Famer, even though Daniel can't bring herself to use that word.
 
Part of the problem is that golfers never really retire. Daniel still hits balls five times a week, and she will be seen plenty on tour over the next two years as the U.S. captain for the 2009 Solheim Cup.
 
But she is retired from playing a full schedule, and that made it a quiet departure, just the way she likes it.
 
'I think she has watched in sports, and in golf, the multiple retirements. And she didn't want to put herself in a position to do that,' Rankin said. 'She makes every effort to be straightforward in what she does, and she has a private side. And that was a private, poignant moment for her.'
 
The moment was poignant in many ways.
 
Having left her birdie putt 5 feet short, it was one last chance to hear the infamous sarcasm of Inkster, who said loud enough for Daniel to hear, 'If she misses this one, I'm not staying around to say 'Hi' to her.' Daniel made the par.
 
As she walked down the 18th fairway, she noticed Paula Creamer and Brittany Lincicome going down the first fairway, two young Americans with a combined age of 43.
 
Daniel, 51, recalled thinking it was a passing of a torch, and she felt it was in good hands.
 
That was hardly the case at the Solheim Cup in Sweden four years ago, when Daniel, Mallon, Inkster, Rosie Jones and Kelly Robbins stood on a balcony and realized the future of American women's golf didn't look terribly promising.
 
Today the tour is loaded with the likes of Morgan Pressel, the youngest major champion in LPGA history, Creamer, Lincicome and Natalie Gulbis, and Daniel will watch them develop more as a captain than a peer.
 
Now that she is retired from the tour, Daniel also would like to get involved in golf course design, but she's finding it tough to get her foot in the door. She has been on the phone with architects, asking if she can watch or help, and making herself available for either.
 
She isn't boasting of her credentials as a player, but she is letting people know she is willing to get her hands dirty and go to work.
 
Nothing new there. That's all she's ever done in golf.
 
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.