Cheers Were All for Big John

By George WhiteApril 26, 2005, 4:00 pm
It certainly isn't the refined thing to do, this whoopy-do hollering when someone misses a putt in golf.
But Vijay Singh was acutely aware of whom the fan favorite was Sunday. And it wasnt him. The cheers that erupted when he missed a makeable putt on the 72nd hole were impolite, to say the least. They were cheers for the good fortune of one John Daly, who as a result of Singh's missed putt would now be in a playoff.
John Daly and Vijay Singh
Even Vijay Singh had a rooting insterest in his friend John Daly.
But Singh didnt mind the outburst in the least. He realized that it would have happened to anyone who was unfortunate enough to get between John Daly and victory. In fact, if he was anywhere else except grinding it out on the golf course, he admitted that he would probably have done exactly what the gallery did in Houston Sunday.
It was definitely a no-no - definitely, except when John Daly is involved somewhere in the mix. Vijays misfire meant that Daly would get into a playoff ' a playoff that Daly would eventually lose when his first tee shot bounded into the water.
If I was in the crowd, said Singh, I'd probably say the same. Everyone loves John. If I was in there, I would have wanted to see a playoff anyway. ... It didn't bother me at all.
Theres something about John Daly, and Im not exactly sure what it is. He comes across as a big ol loveable oaf at times, a mixed-up, confused adult at others. But my wife will forgive John almost any transgression, make excuses for almost any lapse of playing ability, forgive almost any personal misstep that Daly makes. And she is merely one of a million or so Daly-acs who will fiercely stand by their favorite Paul Bunyon.
Why? I dont understand it. My wife is rather stern when it comes to personal deportment. But where John is concerned? Dont you dare say anything untoward against John!
Daly is like some sort of big cuddly teddy bear, and in a perverse sort of way, it enhances his likeability factor even more when he frequently hits the skids. John, it must be said, can do no wrong when it comes to his legion of fans around the globe.
Daly is only a day or two shy of his 39th birthday. He has been all over the map in the playing category during his career won the PGA Championship early on, won a British Open. But there were six years that he couldnt even finish in the top 100 on the money list. He just emerged from a rocky patch of two months when he shot in the 80s three times. In the last six weeks prior to last week, in fact, he had shot in the 60s only once.
John Daly
John Daly reacts to his birdie putt on the 72nd hole at the Shell Houston Open.
It's just been a year I haven't scored real well. I've hit it great, said John, and if that is true, then his putting must have been terrible. And Daly has a reputation of being a very good putter.
He may have solved his problem, though. A change of length and lie of his putter may have been the answer. He had been using a 35-inch putter in the past, but switched to a 34 -inch model. Teacher Steve Holden convinced him to switch back to the 35.
He said, That's what we need to do. It can't hurt because you're putting like crap,' said Daly with brutal, if not to too cultured, honesty.
My caddie, Peter, he's honest with me, too. He says, You're putting so bad you need to try something. So we did. I looked at some footage of the '91 PGA (which he won), and I know I had a putter that was at least 70 (lie) and it was 35 inches long. The ball is rolling better than I've rolled it in a long, long time.

The most gratifying part of his day, though, was making birdie on the final two holes of regulation to get into the playoff. Actually, the entire back nine Sunday was an exciting adventure for Daly. He says he took something away from Houston, even going into his 39th year.
I take a lot, said Daly. I take it that under pressure that maybe I've still got it.
Birdieing 15, 17 and 18 - well, actually, 12, 15, 17 and 18 - gave myself a chance to win the golf tournament. You know, when you're not there a lot, it's kind of nice to do that. It would be nice to be there a lot like Vijay and Ernie and Tiger and Phil and those guys are, but when you're not there a lot, to be able to pull those shots off makes me feel more confident about it.
Daly, it must be said, doesnt know why he is so popular. My own very unscientific poll tells me he is the second most popular golfer in America, right after Tiger Woods. He is more widely appreciated than Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Singh, or anyone except Tiger. And he really isnt very far behind Tiger.
The world can be thankful that John has only won nine times (four internationally). Just think what the situation would be if he had won half as many as Tiger ' say, 20 times. I dont think the known world would be able to handle it. And I know the sport of golf wouldnt.
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Watch: Tiger throws dart, pours in birdie at 8

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 18, 2018, 7:31 pm

Starting Sunday five off the lead, Tiger Woods teed off his final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a laced 2-iron and a par at No. 1.

Woods hit the green at the par-3 second but left himself a 50-foot birdie putt and a 6-footer to save par, which we walked in.

A two-putt 4 at the par-5 fourth gave Woods his first birdie of the day and moved him to 8 under for the week. Apparently energized, Tiger pulled driver at the short par-4 fifth and unleashed this violent swing.

A pitch from the thick rough hit a sprinkler head and stopped on the apron, leading to this birdie try, which fortunately hit the pin but unfortunately didn't fall.

Looking to pick up another stroke - or two - at the par-5 sixth, Woods took his drive 317 yards over the water and hit this second shot from 227 yards to 13 feet, leading to another two-putt birdie when his eagle try burned the right edge.

Returning to his trusty 2-iron, Tiger found the fairway at par-4 eighth and then threw this dart from 176 yards to 6 feet and rolled in his third birdie putt of the day to move to 10 under.

(More coming...)

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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 18, 2018, 5:00 pm

Tiger Woods will start Sunday five off the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. How will he follow up last week's runner-up? We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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McIlroy: Time for Tour to limit alcohol sales on course

By Ryan LavnerMarch 18, 2018, 1:50 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy suggested Saturday that the PGA Tour might need to consider curbing alcohol sales to stop some of the abusive fan behavior that has become more prevalent at events.

McIlroy said that a fan repeatedly yelled his wife’s name (Erica) during the third round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“I was going to go over and have a chat with him,” McIlroy said. “I think it’s gotten a little much, to be honest. I think they need to limit the alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something, because every week it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

“I know that people want to come and enjoy themselves, and I’m all for that, but sometimes when the comments get personal and people get a little bit rowdy, it can get a little much.”

This isn’t the first time that McIlroy has voiced concerns about fan behavior on Tour. Last month at Riviera, he said the rowdy spectators probably cost Tiger Woods a half-shot a round, and after two days in his featured group he had a splitting headache.

A week later, at the Honda Classic, Justin Thomas had a fan removed late in the final round.

McIlroy believes the issue is part of a larger problem, as more events try to replicate the success of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which has one of the liveliest atmospheres on Tour.

“It’s great for that tournament, it’s great for us, but golf is different than a football game, and there’s etiquette involved and you don’t want people to be put off from bringing their kids when people are shouting stuff out,” he said. “You want people to enjoy themselves, have a good day.”

As for a solution, well, McIlroy isn’t quite sure.

“It used to be you bring beers onto the course or buy beers, but not liquor,” he said. “And now it seems like everyone’s walking around with a cocktail. I don’t know whether (the solution) is to go back to letting people walking around with beers in their hands. That’s fine, but I don’t know.”

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Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders

By Randy SmithMarch 18, 2018, 2:45 am

PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.

She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.

Her confidence is high.

“Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”

Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.

Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.

“One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.

“I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”

Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.

“I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”

That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.