Surprise Start for Daly

By Mercer BaggsMarch 27, 2003, 5:00 pm
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Of all the names near the top of the leaderboard after the first day of The Players Championship, John Dalys might be the most surprising ' at least to him.
 
Ive never come here with confidence. Even when Im playing good, I never come here with confidence, Daly said after shooting 2-under 70, prior to the suspension of the first round.
 
Dalys score was his lowest in five years at the TPC at Sawgrass. He has only shot in the 60s five times in 29 career rounds.
 
When asked what about the Stadium Course causes him so much distress. He answered: All 18 holes.
 
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem saw Daly on Wednesday and inquired about his chances.
 
He said, You gonna play good tomorrow? and I said, Well, I'm going to try and beat my average out here, which is right around 80.5, Daly told.
 
Its not quite that bad. Its actually a scant less than 74. Hes made the cut only four times in 11 previous appearances. Hes been particularly poor out of the gates, shooting over par eight times in the first round.
 
Its nice to finally get off to a decent start out here, he said.
 
Should he, by some 'miracle,' win this week, Daly would qualify for The Masters, which he has played nine of the last 11 years.
 
I hate missing The Masters,' he said. 'I think every player's dream is to play there, and win there. The more times you go around it, the better chance you have to play well. I feel like Im missing out when Im not there.
 
Galleries love Daly because of his power off the tee, but its his accuracy that gets him into trouble at Sawgrass. He hit only six of 14 fairways in the first round. Still, he was fortunate to hit all but five greens in regulation.
 
Ive always struggled off the tee box here because I have a tough time trying to find something to aim at, he said. And Im never really sure what Im going to hit, day-to-day, on each hole. The wind changes so much, and the holes play so different ' like 7, in the practice round I hit driver, L-wedge in there; today I hit driver, 6-iron.
 
Another problem has been patience. In as much as hes known for his power, his tendency to post an 83 ' like he did here in the first round in 1999 ' is also part of his Bunyanesque reputation.
 
I think I am (trying to be) a little more patient on this golf course. But any given hole you can hit a decent shot and walk off with an 8, he said.
 
He attributes part of that maturation to current events.
 
I just realize there is nothing to worry about. Im like everybody else; Im more worried about our troops over (in Iraq) right now,' he said.
 
All Ive done now is try -- if I have a bad round or a good day, try and figure out what I did good on both those days.
 
Daly played one of his best rounds here despite being a bit under the weather. He is recovering from a cold that he got while playing in the final round at Bay Hill under a steady rain.
 
I put a little Red Bull (energy drink) in me this morning which helped, he said. Ive never felt comfortable on the golf course. But Im feeling better.
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.