Daly switching putters in effort to spark Sunday run

By Mercer BaggsMay 7, 2016, 9:42 pm

THE WOODLANDS, Texas – John Daly made a 25-foot putt on Saturday at the last. At last.

“I needed that one,” he said walking off the green. “First one I’ve made today.”

Daly birdied the par-4 18th in Round 2 of the Insperity Invitational to finish off a 1-over 73. He dropped to 1 under for the event, tied for 21st and six off the lead held by Jesper Parnevik and Jeff Maggert.

Prior to the start of the tournament, Daly lamented his short game, particularly his putting. After needing 31 putts on Day 1, he took 35 on Day 2 – and that’s with three less greens hit in regulation.

Daly continued to strike the ball well, finding 11 fairways and 13 greens. But that putter …

"It was kind of like yesterday. I didn't hit it real close today, but the wind was a little tricky on the back nine," Daly said.

"But, all in all, I hung in there. I mean, I had some opportunities."

That putter won’t see the light of day tomorrow. Daly said he is switching out this Scotty Cameron 8802 model with a heavier version for Sunday’s final round.

"This one is a little lighter and the greens are quick. I feel like my stroke is getting a little long. It might be decelerating," he said. "So I have one that's a lot heavier that might shorten my stroke. Maybe I can hit my putts a little more on line tomorrow, I hope."

Daly also said he might be a little more aggressive, using driver on a couple of extra holes. He’s stuck to a game plan of five drivers and nine irons off the tee box, on par 4s and 5s, for each of his first two rounds. That's one of the few similarities between Saturday and Friday.

If the Day 1 vibe was festive, Day 2 was business. Daly’s debut included an introductory cake and the presentation of a bottle of vodka on the first tee. There were lots of laughs along the way, playing alongside good friends Peter Jacobsen and Fuzzy Zoeller.

Daly was grouped with Kevin Sutherland and Esteban Toledo in Round 2.

"Kevin and Esteban are great guys, but they are not  they are totally different than Peter and Fuzzy. Everybody is. But they are great guys. I enjoyed playing with them," Daly said.

There was also a noticeable difference in the crowd. The gallery off the first tee wasn’t quite as deep and the following not quite as long, as on Friday. There were more khakis and solids than garish garb.

But it was still an impressive gathering, with hundreds watching Daly. He got off to a great start with a birdie at the par-5 first. He parred his way to the eighth, where the previous round he made birdie. This time he made bogey. He then bogeyed the ninth, which he had also birdied on Day 1. And then came two more bogeys on Nos. 10 and 11.

"Just bad execution, bad chips, bad putts," Daly said of the four dropped shots in four holes.

After steadying himself with three consecutive pars, Daly birdied the par-5 15th with two putts and then made the lengthy one to cap things off.

“Longest putt I’ve made so far on the Champions Tour,” he said.

It’s been a long week for the freshly-turned 50-year-old. He’s played six consecutive rounds, dating back to a quartet of pro-ams to begin his week.

After signing his scorecard and signing every autograph he possibly could, Daly said he was ready for an early night – after fulfilling one more sponsor obligation, of course.

"I'm going to cook out for the Loudmouth people," he said, "and then I'm going to bed."

He'll have plenty of time to sleep in. Daly tees off at 12:58 p.m. ET with Billy Andrade and Mark O'Meara in the final round.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.

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Wie takes shot at LPGA dress code in crop top

By Grill Room TeamDecember 10, 2017, 5:33 pm

The new LPGA dress code got mixed reviews when it was announced in July, and Michelle Wie is taking full advantage of her offseason with no restrictions.

The 28-year-old former U.S. Women's Open champion is keeping her game sharp while back in her home state of Hawaii, but couldn't help taking a shot at the rules while doing it, posting a photo to Instagram of her playing golf in a crop top with the caption, "Offseason = No dress code fine."

Offseason = No dress code fines #croptopdroptop

A post shared by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

Wie isn't the first to voice her displeasure with the rules. Lexi Thompson posted a similar photo and caption to Instagram shortly after the policy was announced.