Dalys Appeal a Mystery But Its Genuine

By George WhiteJanuary 28, 2002, 5:00 pm
Hes 35 years old, entering what you would call early middle age. And 35-plus years has left its mark on him ' the wild partying days of being a wealthy young man, the cold reality of being drunk and contemplating suicide, the days of being sober but having an addiction to chocolates.
 
John Daly is pudgy - granted. Hes got lines where there shouldnt be lines. He smokes cigarettes like they were toothpicks. He has never spoken such thoughts, but he probably has nightmares of the times when he would painfully put a peg in the ground and want to stay there ' its called a hangover.
 
But theres one other thing about John Daly and all those life experiences - hes become a pretty consistent golfer. The man who was careening down a path to early ruin has at last started to pick up top-10s in bunches.
 
It started last year, and its picked up this year. Sunday was an almost ' he led the Phoenix Open at one time but just couldnt quite finish. He wound up two shots behind winner Chris DiMarco in a tie for fourth.
 
A funny thing happened, though. The people just love him, regardless of what he does. My wife is crazy about John, and Ive struggled to understand it. I think its because that, in all the times hes botched it up, he humbly admits hes wrong and tries to do better. And he's made a sincere ' if sometimes flawed ' desire to make it right.
 
Its been awhile, though, since he had to say the mea culpas. Lately, it sounds like the world is right by J. Daly. One thing is impressive ' he refuses to say he will win, or even that he will contend this year. He loves what is happening to him at this moment, though, as he told the writers gathered at Phoenix.
 
So, is John Daly back?
 
I dont know, he said honestly. I just love the way Im striking the ball. And you know, I just hope we get some more contention rounds, and maybe one day Ill come out on top.
 
The galleries, of course, are completely dazzled. Again, its a bit mystifying. Theres nothing in the world that is slick, no funny one-liners and no smooth wise-cracks. He isnt Fuzzy or Trevino. But his popularity has grown to the extent that it is almost unimaginable.
 
Daly admits to being a bit mystified, too. He hears the crowds, he knows something special is going on. But hes as clueless as I am about the popularity thing.
 
I dont know, he says, a bit bewildered by it all. I think people kind of relate to what Ive gone through. Everyone knows about my life, all Ive been through, the good things, the bad things. And I just think people relate to that.
 
Winner Chris DiMarco was Dalys playing partner the third round at Phoenix. He was just an anonymous face with a funny putting grip. But hes so happy that good fortune has begun to smile on John.
 
You know, I guess ' you know, Johns a great guy, said DiMarco. He really is. Hes fun to play with. They (the fans) love him, and they let him know about a thousand times a hole.
 
Daly felt completely at ease, but then he must feel at ease all over the country. He walks out to putt a little, smack a few drives, loosens up ' and the fans welcome him like some kind of long-lost brother.
 
I mean, its amazing, he said. Everywhere I go, it feels like home. You know, its just good to be playing good for the fans. It means an awful lot to them, and it means an awful lot to me.
 
Daly may have quit the carousing, the boozing, the brooding, the stray women, but one thing he hasnt quit is the smoking. Too many things at one time ' or so he says. His colorful language is funny when he tries to describe it.
 
Hell, Ive quit too much other (stuff) to worry about quitting smoking, he said, and stuff came out sounding suspiciously like spit. I mean, theres probably two things Im not going to quit ' sex and smoking ' right now.
 
Zoeller calls him Piggy, referring to his former days as an Arkansas Razorback. Piggy is now in the sty, just living life at its most basic. He has stopped running around trying to be a wild man, not feeling like he has to experience every one of lifes emotions before he dies. He plays golf now. Period.
 
Its a new feeling every day ' I mean, when I play, said John. Its a great feeling. Its something that ' you know, I just ' I just love it.
 

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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.

@tommyfleetwood_1

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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.