Putting problems concern Daly at Aussie PGA

By Associated PressDecember 2, 2008, 5:00 pm
COOLUM, Australia ' Six years after throwing his putter into a pond at the Australian PGA, John Daly is having trouble on the greens again.
 
Before heading off for a practice round at the Hyatt Regency resort course Tuesday, Daly said hes tried just about everything to improve on poor putting that plagued most of his play at Hong Kong and at Huntingdale in last weekends Australian Masters, where he failed to make the cut.
 
John Daly
A diver retrieves John Daly's putter after he tossed it in a lake during the 2002 Aussie PGA. (Getty Images)
Im trying new grips, trying to get my posture up, changing the lie and loft, everything I could possibly try, and nothing feels right, said Daly, who spent nearly three hours on the practice green Monday. Its just a matter of keep practicing and sooner or later something might click.
 
Two-time major winner Daly is returning to the scene of one of the most publicized blowouts in his stormy career. At the Australian PGA in 2002, he threw his putter and ball into the pond at the 18th green after his second round and was later disqualified for not signing his scorecard.
 
A scuba diver later retrieved the ball and putter, and it was mounted in the pro shop as a souvenir of the day ' at least until this week. The display has been hidden away from an area near the pro shop which is doubling as a player lounge, just to save Daly any embarrassment.
 
It would mean a lot to me this week to do well, Daly said. My record in Australia hasnt been great.
 
If he does well, it will be due to an improvement with the putter. When he shot a final-round 62 at Hong Kong two weeks ago, he had 27 or 28 putts. Last week at Huntingdale in Melbourne, he shot a 1-over 73 Friday and had 37 putts before not qualifying for the weekend.
 
That means my ball-striking is good, but I just hit some pretty poor putts last week, Daly said. I made a lot of putts I needed to make in Hong Kong, but not a lot outside of 8 feet that a lot of the guys do.
 
Daly says hell play in next weeks Australian Open in Sydney, making it four tournaments in four weeks.
 
Ive said before that I need to play three or four weeks straight to get my rhythm right, and since Im already down here, it makes sense, Daly said.
 
Hes trying to make the best of whats turned out to be a mediocre year, both on and off the course.
 
He spent a night in jail on Oct. 27 after being found extremely intoxicated and uncooperative, police said, outside a restaurant in Winston-Salem, N.C.
 
Daly has not had a PGA Tour card since 2006, when his two-year exemption expired from his last victory at the Buick Invitational in 2004. He made only five cuts in 17 starts on the PGA Tour this year and earned $56,000.
 
In 2009, he plans to play mostly on the European Tour.
 
Before the Australian Masters, Australias Stuart Appleby described Dalys life as a trainwreck.
 
Craig Parry, who played with Daly last week at Huntingdale ' and in the Americans group at Coolum in 2002 before he was disqualified ' is a Daly booster.
 
He is always under pressure for his past, and I feel for the guy, Parry said. Hes got a ton of ability, and it was disappointing to see some players have a go at him for getting an invite.
 
Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, said the sport needs players like Daly.
 
Hes the most colorful character thats played golf in the last 25 years, Ogilvy said. Hopefully he plays 72 holes (this week) and ends with 14 clubs.
 
A less-known fact of Dalys 2002 blowout was that in addition to throwing his putter and ball into the pond, he left behind his golf bag and clubs to the Australian branch of the Make-A-Wish foundation for a charity auction.
 
He is a lovable type of guy and he has a heart of gold, Parry said. Hes just done some silly things. Frankly, I believe he has more ability than the whole field put together.
 
The 42-year-old Daly hopes that ability carries him to a return to a top-50 ranking, and then perhaps another major to add to his 1991 PGA Championship and the 1995 British Open.
 
I look forward to the British Open every year, its my favorite major, Daly said. Ever since I first saw St. Andrews in 1992 or 93 I fell in love with Open golf.
 
Daly was asked, if given a choice, hed rather have two majors and the headlines, or one major and a quiet time sitting in an armchair.
 
Two majors, Daly replied, laughing.
 
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    Rahm, with blinders on, within reach of No. 1 at Torrey

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 10:10 pm

    SAN DIEGO – The drive over to Torrey Pines from Palm Springs, Calif., takes about two and a half hours, which was plenty of time for Jon Rahm’s new and ever-evolving reality to sink in.

    The Spaniard arrived in Southern California for a week full of firsts. The Farmers Insurance Open will mark the first time he’s defended a title on the PGA Tour following his dramatic breakthrough victory last year, and it will also be his first tournament as the game’s second-best player, at least according to the Official World Golf Ranking.

    Rahm’s victory last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his second on Tour and fourth worldwide tilt over the last 12 months, propelled the 23-year-old to No. 2 in the world, just behind Dustin Johnson. His overtime triumph also moved him to within four rounds of unseating DJ atop the global pecking order.

    It’s impressive for a player who at this point last year was embarking on his first full season as a professional, but then Rahm has a fool-proof plan to keep from getting mired in the accolades of his accomplishments.

    “It's kind of hard to process it, to be honest, because I live my day-to-day life with my girlfriend and my team around me and they don't change their behavior based on what I do, right?” he said on Tuesday at Torrey Pines. “They'll never change what they think of me. So I really don't know the magnitude of what I do until I go outside of my comfort zone.”

    Head down and happy has worked perfectly for Rahm, who has finished outside the top 10 in just three of his last 10 starts and began 2018 with a runner-up showing at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and last week’s victory.

    According to the world ranking math, Rahm is 1.35 average ranking points behind Johnson and can overtake DJ atop the pack with a victory this week at the Farmers Insurance Open; but to hear his take on his ascension one would imagine a much wider margin.

    “I've said many times, beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task,” Rahm said. “We all know what happened last time he was close to a lead in a tournament on the PGA Tour.”


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    Rahm certainly remembers. It was just three weeks ago in Maui when he birdied three of his first six holes, played the weekend at Kapalua in 11 under and still finished eight strokes behind Johnson.

    And last year at the WGC-Mexico Championship when Rahm closed his week with rounds of 67-68 only to finish two strokes off Johnson’s winning pace, or a few weeks later at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play when he took Johnson the distance in the championship match only to drop a 1-up decision to the game’s undisputed heavyweight.

    As far as Rahm has come in an incredibly short time - at this point last year he ranked 137th in the world - it is interesting that it’s been Johnson who has had an answer at every turn.

    He knows there’s still so much room for improvement, both physically and mentally, and no one would ever say Rahm is wanting for confidence, but after so many high-profile run-ins with Johnson, his cautious optimism is perfectly understandable.

    “I'll try to focus more on what's going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win,” he reasoned when asked about the prospect of unseating Johnson, who isn’t playing this week. “I'll try my best, that's for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

    If Rahm’s take seems a tad cliché given the circumstances, consider that his aversion to looking beyond the blinders is baked into the competitive cake. For all of his physical advantages, of which there are many, it’s his keen ability to produce something special on command that may be even more impressive.

    Last year at Torrey Pines was a quintessential example of this, when he began the final round three strokes off the lead only to close his day with a back-nine 30 that included a pair of eagles.

    “I have the confidence that I can win here, whereas last year I knew I could but I still had to do it,” he said. “I hope I don't have to shoot 30 on the back nine to win again.”

    Some will point to Rahm’s 60-footer for eagle at the 72nd hole last year as a turning point in his young career, it was even named the best putt on Tour by one publication despite the fact he won by three strokes. But Rahm will tell you that walk-off wasn’t even the best shot he hit during the final round.

    Instead, he explained that the best shot of the week, the best shot of the year, came on the 13th hole when he launched a 4-iron from a bunker to 18 feet for eagle, a putt that he also made.

    “If I don't put that ball on the green, which is actually a lot harder than making that putt, the back nine charge would have never happened and this year might have never happened, so that shot is the one that made everything possible,” he explained.

    Rahm’s ability to embrace and execute during those moments is what makes him special and why he’s suddenly found himself as the most likely contender to Johnson’s throne even if he chooses not to spend much time thinking about it.

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    Rahm focusing on play, not shot at No. 1

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 9:06 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Jon Rahm’s meteoric rise in the world rankings could end with him reaching No. 1 with a win this week at Torrey Pines.

    After winning last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his fourth title in 51 weeks, Rahm has closed the gap on Dustin Johnson – less than 1.5 average points separates them.

    With Johnson not playing this week, the 23-year-old Spaniard has a chance to reach the top spot for the first time, but only if he defends his title at the Farmers Insurance Open.


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    “Beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task. It’s no easy task,” he said Tuesday. “We still have four days of golf ahead and we’ll see what happens. But I’ll try to focus more on what’s going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win.

    “I’ll try my best, that’s for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

    Rahm has already become the fourth-youngest player to reach No. 2 in the world, behind Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. 

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    Rahm: Playoff wasn't friendly, just 'nervous'

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:53 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Too chummy? Jon Rahm says he and Andrew Landry were just expending some nervous energy on the walk up to the fairway during the first playoff hole of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    “I wouldn’t have been that nervous if it was friendly,” Rahm said with a smile Tuesday. “I think it was something he said because we were talking going out of the first tee.

    “I didn’t know Andrew – I think it was a pretty good time to get to know him. We had at least 10 minutes to ourselves. It’s not like we were supporting each other, right? We were both in it together, we were both nervous together, and I felt like talking about it might have eased the tension out of both of us.”


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    On Sunday, two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange saw the exchange on TV and tweeted: “Walking off the tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me? Talking at all?”

    Strange followed up by saying that, in a head-to-head situation, the last thing he’d want to do was make his opponent comfortable. When his comments went viral, Strange tweeted at Rahm, who won after four holes: “Hopefully no offense taken on my comment yesterday. You guys are terrific. I’m a huge fan of all players today. Made an adverse comment on U guys talking during playoff. Not for me. A fan.”

    Not surprisingly, the gregarious Rahm saw things differently.

    “We only talked going out of the first tee up until the fairway,” he said. “Besides that, all we said was, ‘Good shot, good putt, see you on the next tee.’ That’s what it was reduced to. We didn’t say much.” 

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    Tiger grouped with Reed, Hoffman at Torrey Pines

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:35 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Tiger Woods will make his 2018 debut alongside Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman.

    The threesome will go off Torrey Pines’ South Course at 1:40 p.m. ET Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open. They begin at 12:30 p.m. Friday on the North Course.

    Woods is an eight-time winner at Torrey Pines, including the 2008 U.S. Open, but he hasn’t broken 70 in his last seven rounds on either course. Last year, he shot rounds of 76-72 to miss the cut.


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    Reed, who has grown close to Woods after being in his pod during the past two international team competitions, is coming off a missed cut last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Hoffman, a San Diego native, has only two top-10s in 20 career starts at Torrey.

    Other featured groups for the first two rounds include:

    • Jon Rahm, Jason Day and Brandt Snedeker: 1:30 p.m. Thursday off South 1, 12:20 p.m. Friday off North 10

    • Rickie Fowler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele: 12:30 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:30 p.m. Friday off South 1

    • Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama: 12:40 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:40 p.m. Friday off South 1