Daly Triumphant in Germany

By Golf Channel NewsroomSeptember 2, 2001, 4:00 pm
John Daly returned to the winners circle for the first time in six years Sunday, as the long-bombing American star outlasted Padraig Harrington down the stretch at the BMW International Open.
 
Daly shot 66 at the Golfclub Munchen Nord-Eichenried to end at an astounding 27-under-par 261, which - had it not been for lift-clean-and-place on Saturday - would have tied the European Tour record for most strokes under-par.
 
'It's been a long six years and it just feels good to win again,' said Daly following his performance.
 
The final round was back-and-forth all day between the final twosome.
 
Starting the day one shot ahead of Daly, Harrington had increased that margin to two through the first six holes after a birdie at the short par-4 5th.
 
Yet, Daly, whose last win came at the 95 Open Championship, came roaring back with the sort of flair that he had demonstrated all week.
 
Daly birdied Nos. 7, 9, 12 and 13 to pull even with the Irishman entering the final stretch of holes.
 
At the 319-yard water-laden par-4 16th, Daly surprised everyone when he pulled driver from his bag, but with a huge slash, put the ball right in the middle of the green, from where he would two-putt for birdie.
 
Harrington selected an iron off the tee, and he too surprised everyone, as his shot leaked right and nearly found a water hazard.
 
The ball stayed dry, however, and the crafty 30-year-old came back with a beautiful wedge shot from the rough to four feet, which led to a Daly-tying birdie.
 
He wasnt so lucky on the finishing par-5 18th, however.
 
After a fine drive, Harrington elected to go for the green in two, but again sprayed his shot out to the right towards more water.
 
This time, the ball would end wet.
 
Daly missed the green to the left, but played a gorgeous pitch to two feet for the closing birdie and the one-stroke win.
 
Click Here see John Daly's Final Round Scorecard.
 
Harrington, who ended with a 68 at 26-under, has now finished second for the sixth time this season on the European Tour. With two other top-5s on top of that, shooting minus-26 and still not getting victory this week surely comes with disappointment.
 
'Obviously at the start of the week I would have taken 26-under,' Harrington said following the round. 'It's nice to see Daly back in the winner's enclosure -- but it would have been nicer if I hadn't been in second place.'
 
For Daly, however, the win couldnt come as any more deserving.
 
The 35-year-old two-time major champion is in the midst of an incredible comeback from alcohol and gambling addiction, sponsorship losses and failed marriages.
 
Said the champion: 'I think 1999 was probably the low point in between times. That was the turning point, when I had to decide whether to keep going forward or do something else. It was a very short thought, because I wanted to keep playing golf.'
 
Now, he's not just playing again, he's winning.
 
Ryder Cup Notes:
 
While Daly ended somewhat an ironic champion, the week had been most highly-touted for the implications it could have on the upcoming Ryder Cup.
 
When it was all said-and-done, however, no changes to the top-10 were made.
 
Phillip Price, who missed the cut this week, and sat perilously on the 10th spot, but ended holding his position.
 
All week, several players outside the bubble made charges, but it was Thomas Levet who contended most seriously down the stretch.
 
Levet shot a beautiful 64 on Sunday to finish in outright third at 20-under, while another Ryder Cup hopeful Dean Robertson ended one shot further back with Raymond Russell and Christopher Hannell.
 
The performance just wasnt good enough for Levet, however, as the Frenchman needed a win to surpass Price for the final slot.
 
Click Here for for Full-Field Scores from the BMW International Open.
Getty Images

Watch: Daly makes birdie from 18-foot-deep bunker

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 11:14 pm

John Daly on Friday somehow got up and down for birdie from the deepest bunker on the PGA Tour.

The sand to the left of the green on the 16th hole at the Stadium Course at PGA West sits 18 feet below the surface of the green.

That proved no problem for Daly, who cleared the lip three times taller than he is and then rolled in a 26-footer.

He fared just slightly better than former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill.

Getty Images

Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

“I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

Getty Images

Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


Made Cut

Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

September can’t get here quick enough.

Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


Missed Cut

Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

Tweet of the week:

It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

Getty Images

Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.