Daly still swinging hoping for big turnaround in 2009


John Daly, PGA European Tour star?
The two-time major champion told The Associated Press on Thursday that hes considering all of his options for 2009, including playing regularly on the European tour.
I know in Europe there are still a million opportunities to play, Daly said. Its a great tour. Guys on that tour have shown themselves and proved themselves to be great players.
Dalys play, however, has been far from great.
The 42-year-old Daly has made just five cuts in 16 events this year, bringing in just $56,017. His best finish was a tie for 40th at the Viking Classic and he plummeted to No. 737 in the world ranking. He hasnt had a top 10 in three years and his erratic behavior has cost him some of the support that made him one of the sports most popular players.
Daly blames some of his struggles on a mysterious rib injury that forced him to shorten his iconic swing and rendered one of the tours biggest hitters punchless.
I saw guys hitting it by me that never hit it by me before, said Daly, 16th in driving distance this year. I was like, theres definitely something wrong here.
Daly had surgery over the summer to deal with a cyst the size of a golf ball in his ribs. He says doctors found two small fractures deep in the rib that prevented him from gripping it and ripping it.
Hes feeling better, but the recovery process has been slow. Yet he says he still has the itch to play.
It was so long when I was hurt, shooting 71s to 75s and it was a matter of just one hole, he said. Now I feel like its all starting to come together. Id love to play four or five weeks in a row like I used to do. I cant do that because Im not exempt.
Daly will have to rely on the kindness of strangers to get his career back on track. He hopes to land a handful of sponsors exemptions to get into a few early PGA Tour stops next year. If he does that, he thinks he can play well enough to make some money and play his way back onto the tour.
I hope the tournament organizers that gave me exemptions last couple years when I was hurt see that and let me try it again, he said.
One definite stop next year will be Turnberry, site of the 2009 British Open. And he doesnt plan on going alone. Daly is auctioning the opportunity to join him in an effort to raise money for The John Daly Foundation.
The trip for three will include private jet to the tournament, the chance to play 18 holes at a local course with Daly, accommodations at Dalys villa and four passes to the clubhouse during the tournament..
If youre expecting the John Daly experience, however, youll be disappointed. While therell be plenty of cookouts, Daly says dont expect a trip to the pub or the local sports book.
They will get an idea of how hard it is what we do and theyll understand things people read and hear about John Daly arent always true, he said.
Maybe, but some things are. Even as he approaches his mid-40s he admits hes still hardly in peak physical condition. Hell never be a workout fiend, though he says he is watching his weight a little more closely.
And hes still playing golf, but doing it the Daly way. He spent last week in Missouri hosting a celebrity golf benefit, and is scheduled to make an appearance in Bowling Green, Ky., later this month at a charity golf tournament hosted by country musician Steve Azar.
After that hell probably head to Australia or Asia and try to hone his game before the 2009 season begins. If theres a tee and an invitation, hell probably take it.
Ive always got a place to play, he said. Thats what I need to do is play.