Notes Daly Promoting Tournament for Best Friends


Not many PGA Tour players appeal to common folks like John Daly, so it's only fitting that the two-time major champion is helping to launch a national tournament aimed at the grass roots of golf - playing with friends.
Daly is promoting the Championships of Best Friends,'' which will take place in eight NFL cities this spring for twosomes who will be judged by their scores and an essay they write about their friendship.
This is something different,'' Daly said. This is more family oriented. It's cool to be able to share stories, because every story will touch somebody in life.''
The tournament will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and will be played in Jacksonville, Fla., Detroit, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Pittsburgh. Teams can sign up at The entry fee is $299.
Each team must have a USGA handicap and a short story about their relationship. The 30 best net scores and gross scores will advance to the city finals, along with 10 teams judged to have the best friendship stories.
The winners of each city will meet on the TPC at Valencia in California next January, where each will be paired with a PGA Tour player and his friend.
Organizers said all eight teams will go to the Super Bowl after the tournament.
Among the PGA Tour players expected to play are Daly, Scott Hoch, Chris Riley Rory Sabbatini and Rod Pampling.
Golf is a sport that brings friends together,'' Daly said. It's a sport that doesn't discriminate, and one that has seen many friends through good times and bad.''
Daly said he still enjoys playing with his buddies as much as he does on tour.
They don't care what I shoot,'' he said. We get in a cart, and they look at all the new stuff I've got that's coming out, and they want to know how they can get some of it.''
The 54-hole leader on the PGA Tour wins something called the Crestor Charity Challenge, and gets to designate $50,000 to a health charity of his choice.
So far this year, that's all he gets.
None of the third-round leaders have gone on to win through the first four tournaments this year - Vijay Singh at the Mercedes Championships, Shigeki Maruyama at the Sony Open, Tom Lehman at the Buick Invitational and Joe Ogilvie at the Bob Hope Classic.
That's the longest such streak to start off a season since 1976, when the 54-hole leaders failed to cash in at the first five tournaments until J.C.
Snead finished off the job in the Andy Williams-San Diego Open.
Curtis Strange turned 50 and already sounds like he's losing his mind.
I don't know where to go,'' he said in a recent interview. I don't know where to stay. I don't know where to fly.''
The two-time U.S. Open champion has a good excuse.
Strange will be the newest rookie when the Champions Tour resumes in two weeks at The ACE Group Classic in Naples, Fla., among several cities he never played during his 26 years on the PGA Tour.
As for the rest of his senior schedule? Stay tuned.
I was never one to set a schedule, because I never knew how I was going to feel,'' Strange said. And that's the way I'll take this.''
Strange has no idea what to expect.
He last won in the 1989 U.S. Open, where he became the first player since Ben Hogan to win back-to-back U.S. Open titles. Strange said his pursuit of a third straight U.S. Open - he was two shots out of the lead going into the last round until closing with a 75 at Medinah - might have contributed to a case of burnout.
It was after going for three that I kind of lost a lot of drive,'' he said. I think burnout would probably be as close to describing my feeling as anything else. I just never got quite the enthusiasm back, and I played with a lot of enthusiasm. If I was not on edge, then I didn't play very well.''
Strange spent the last decade as an analyst for ABC Sports, and had only seven top-10 finishes during his time in the booth. He has been a regular on the range the last few months to get his swing in shape, although he's keeping his expectations modest for the Champions Tour.
I'm anxious to find out what I have, and I'm a little leery about finding that out,'' he said.
The world ranking becomes a popular topic this time of the year with the cutoff for the Match Play Championship just two weeks away.
Everyone in the top 65 after the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am will qualify for the $7.5 million event at La Costa. The one extra spot is because Ernie Els is not playing this World Golf Championship for the second straight year.
Tim Herron helped his cause with a tie for sixth at the Bob Hope Classic, moving him up nine spots to No. 54 in the world. Then again, Lumpy is among those who quit worrying about his ranking.
The more you look at it, the higher your ranking starts going,'' Herron said. So I don't even look at it. They can tell me if I'm in or not. I'll just commit to it five weeks down the line.''
Another big move came from Loren Roberts, who rose 17 spots to No. 64 with his tie for fourth at the Hope.
Among those who will have to play well the next two weeks are Brad Faxon (No. 71), who has missed the cut in his first three tournaments this year; and Colin Montgomerie (No. 73), who narrowly got into the Accenture Match Play Championship last year by winning in Singapore.
Hale Irwin has 100 finishes in the top three on the Champion Tour.
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