Another sad chapter in Daly sideshow

By Ryan LavnerMarch 14, 2014, 9:22 pm

PALM HARBOR, Fla. – Most players would be looking for alternate lines of work if they recorded just two top 10s in eight years.

Not John Daly, the major winner-turned-sideshow who has been given everlasting life by tournament directors.

On Friday at the Valspar Championship, Daly made a 12 on the par-4 16th hole en route to a second-round 90 – the worst score of his increasingly bizarre career. He has now shot at least one round of 80 or higher every year since 1991.

No one can take away Daly’s two major titles, of course, but they’re darn sure getting harder to remember. His last major triumph was 19 years ago – when Jordan Spieth was a few days away from his first birthday. All that remains now is an also-ran in bright clothes with a penchant for big blunders.

Valspar Championship leaderboard

Valspar Championship: Articles, videos and photos

Daly blamed putting yips for his two-day total of 22 over par here at Innisbrook, and indeed it was cover-your-eyes stuff: He had four three-jacks and another four-putt. But it wasn’t like he was knocking down the flags, either. In addition to taking 70 putts (including 37 on Day 2), he hit half the fairways and just 20 greens.

This latest embarrassment, though, stems from his work Friday on the 16th hole, where he sailed his tee shot into the water right, then twice rinsed a shot as he attempted to cut the corner from 300-plus yards. Once he got near the green, just 92 feet away, he chunked his pitch into the bunker, blasted out over the green and needed to sink a 2-footer for 12.

“It was a good 12,” he told reporters afterward. “I got up and down to do it.”

To his credit, Daly signed a few autographs after his round, and he tried to put his day into perspective by discussing the current events in Malaysia, Harlem and Austin.

“People have bad holes,” he said.

Still, Friday’s 90 was Daly’s worst score in 1,467 career PGA Tour rounds, but he also has two 87s (2000 Bay Hill, 2007 Wells Fargo), an 88 (2009 Buick) and an 89 (2009 British Open) on his resume. Yes, people have bad holes. Daly just happens to have them more routinely than any player in PGA Tour history.

In fact, this was Daly’s 62nd round of 80 or higher on Tour. Sixteen times he has recorded a 10 or higher on a hole. That dreadful recap doesn’t even include his various excursions abroad, such as the 2011 Australian Open, where he sent seven balls into the water before storming off the course. In 2002, he slung his putter into the greenside pond on 18 and failed to sign his card, leading to a DQ. In 2009, he smashed a spectator’s camera into a tree.

Other notables on his career-long blooper reel include hitting 3-wood into the water six times and taking an 18 – his worst-ever score – at the 1998 Bay Hill tournament. In the 2000 U.S. Open, he carded a 14. He also had a 13 at the 2011 John Deere. Two years ago, he went 63-86 in Las Vegas.

Yet, for reasons unknown, the soon-to-be 48-year-old continues to play on Tour, almost exclusively on handouts. Never mind the fact that he hasn’t won since 2004. Or that he has just two top 10s since 2006. Or that he has 17 withdrawals in that same span.

Daly didn’t quit Friday, at least not in the walk-off sense, but he has in the past. Too many times. In all, he has 38 career WDs on Tour. That’s as many as David Duval (10), Davis Love III (nine), Vijay Singh (seven), Tiger Woods (six) and Fred Couples (six) combined.

When reached by on Friday afternoon, Valspar tournament director Kevin Krisle said that Daly has been a longtime supporter of this tournament, that he’s done a lot of work with the charities and that he played a Tuesday pro-am round with reps from the title sponsor. In other words, the minimum obligations for a touring professional.

Krisle declined to comment, however, when asked whether he had any apprehension in offering a spot to Daly given his recent form and past incidents, saying only that “all sponsor decisions are difficult to make. He’s been supportive of the tournament.”

“There are a lot of fans in the Tampa Bay area that love watching him play,” Krisle said.

Apparently for the same reason that fans turn up for UFC fights. They want to see carnage, and no one has self-immolated on the course more often than Daly.

Truth to tell, his occasional blowups would be easier to accept if he actually tried to earn a spot on his own merit. He’s been coasting on sponsor exemptions for the past eight years.

How many times has he attempted to Monday qualify?

How many trips to Q-School has he made?

This was Daly’s fifth start of the season, which seems an awful lot of events for the world’s 582nd-ranked player. Rest assured, the freebies will keep coming, presumably because of JD’s everyman appeal. At least they’ve got that part right – his golf has never looked more ordinary.


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.