The Scottish gallery who remember him winning at St. Andrews in 1995 was buzzing when they saw his name atop the leaderboard Thursday, especially when his sand wedge from 60 yards rolled into the cup at No. 11 and put him in the lead at 5 under.
Alas, it was temporary.
'He couldn't decide which club to hit,' caddie Michael Owen said of the tee shot at No. 12.
It turned out to be a 3-wood, and it went to the right into a miserable lie in the rough. Daly got it out to the fairway, hit 6-iron some 50 feet away and three-putted for double bogey, missing from 2 feet.
He recovered with a par on the next hole, and Daly was in good shape off the tee on the 14th. But he pulled his approach into a bunker, then caught his third shot so thin that it sailed over the green into another terrible lie.
'His chip didn't reach the green,' Owen said. 'His next chip didn't reach the green.'
Daly rammed the third chip 25 feet past the hole, took two putts and rang up an 8. He followed that with back-to-back bogeys, then dropped one more shot on the 18th when he missed the green to the right.
The linescore: Three birdies and an eagle through the first 11 holes, three bogeys, a double bogey and a triple bogey on the last seven.
He went from in the lead to a tie for 74th.
He finished with a 74 and walked away from reporters without speaking.
Mark Calcavecchia has been on the PGA Tour for 25 years and has gone through just about everything. A trip to the British Open brought a new experience that he could do without.
Calcavecchia played Carnoustie with his own set of golf clubs for the first time Thursday.
The former British Open champion was among several players who had luggage problems on the trip to Scotland, but Calcavecchia had a double-whammy. Not only did he not get his golf clubs, he didn't get his clothes.
'I left on Sunday,' he said. 'I didn't get anything until 5 o'clock yesterday.'
Ping made him a replacement set for a practice round, but he struggled with the driver and 3-wood and was thrilled to be using his regular set when he teed off Thursday. He shot a 74, but blamed that on his putter.
The clothes? Now that's another story.
Calcavecchia got so desperate he asked to borrow pants from Carl Pettersson, and was shocked to hear the Swede's waist size was 36.
'He must be wearing those way below the belly line,' Calcavecchia said.
He finally broke down and went shopping, picking up a sweater and a shirt in the Carnoustie clubhouse for a cool $250.
'I don't even like the sweater or the shirt,' he said. 'They'll be a Christmas present for someone.'
Maybe it's an omen. The last time he bought something he ordinarily gets for free was a putter in March that he paid $256.18 in a pro shop. He went on to win the PODS Championship at Innisbrook.
Rod Pampling opened with a 70, one shot better than 1999 in Carnoustie when he led the British Open after one round. He was the only player to match par.
Of course, Pampling made history that year by becoming the first player in a major to go from first-to-worst. He shot 86 in the second round and missed the cut.
He wasn't thinking about that Thursday.
'I guess it should cross my mind tomorrow,' Pampling said. 'But I'm not worried about that just yet.'
This was a pretty tame round by Phil Mickelson's standards in the British Open -- two birdies, two bogeys, 14 pars, nothing particularly memorable in an even-par 71.
Although he didn't shoot himself out of the Open, he knew it could have been better.
'We could really have gone low,' Mickelson said. 'The greens were receptive. We could have got the ball close to a number of pins. A lot of guys did. I didn't capitalize on the green.'
Mickelson at least learned that his left wrist his stronger. He found thick rough off the tee on the final hole and had to gouge out a wedge that barely got back to the first cut. He wound up with a bogey.
'Fortunately, there are three rounds left, and I didn't shoot myself in the foot and let the round slide.'
Markus Brier, the only player from Austria at Carnoustie, is starting to find his way on the European Tour, winning the CA Open in Austria last year and the China Open this season.
Austria is not exactly a hotbed for golf, with most of its sporting heroes found on the slopes. Brier was a big fan of Franz Klammer, an 1976 Olympic gold medalist in the downhill.
Just not a big enough fan to follow in his skis.
'I grew up in Vienna, which isn't the skiing part of Austria,' Brier said. 'We don't have any big mountains or anything. I know him quite well. He plays golf quite well. He's one of the most well-known sportsmen in Austria. But skiing was never really my talent.'
Winning the U.S. Open over Tiger Woods at Pinehurst No. 2 two years ago didn't exactly motivate Michael Campbell. If anything, he lost his desire.
He found inspiration from a DVD he watched two months ago of former winners at the British Open. It showed Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, who have 11 claret jugs among them.
'It got the juices going,' Campbell said after a 68 that left him in a tie for third. 'I watched videos and DVDs at the golf course and tried to learn from it, and that really inspired me.'
The Kiwi learned it can work the other way. He was deeply touched last year when U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy said he was inspired by seeing Campbell win the year before.
'Winning a major is breaking down all the barriers for these guys,' he said. 'I'm pretty excited about the next three rounds.'
WELCOME TO THE CIRCUS
Paul Lawrie can play in the British Open through his 65th birthday as a past champion. Where he really wanted to be Thursday was the Masters, the only major that doesn't let anyone inside the ropes except for players, caddies and television cameras and rules officials.
He was playing with Tiger Woods on Thursday, and they weren't alone.
Lawrie spent much of the time barking instructions to photographers who he felt were camped too close to his line of sight while hitting shots from the rough. Lawrie opened with a 73.
'It is surprising how many people are allowed inside the ropes at a tournament like this,' he said. 'I don't personally agree with it. You've got people behind you who are paying a lot of money, and half the time they are asking you guys to sit down and get out of the way. It's not great, but it's not up to me who gets in and who doesn't. It doesn't happen at the Masters, does it?'
Lawrie's exemption to the Masters ran out three years ago.