Daly Having Career Year
He has never played on a Ryder Cup team, despite winning the PGA Championship (1991) and British Open (1995) in Ryder Cup years. He has never played in the Tour Championship - the PGA Tour's version of the All-Star game - because his game is not consistently among the best.
This might be his best chance to change that.
It's hard to imagine Daly doing anything quietly, especially with the raucous crowd that tags along wherever he plays, but he has managed to sneak into position for his best year on tour.
'Definitely, the Ryder Cup is on my mind,' Daly said Sunday after his runner-up finish in the Buick Open moved him up to No. 20 in the standings. 'I would love to be a part of that team. I feel like I could help the team the way I'm playing right now, solid as I'm hitting it. And I've got a little bit of confidence. I think that's what the captain would want.'
Daly would have to finish second at the PGA Championship next week to have any chance of getting into the top 10 and earning a spot on the team.
Still, U.S. captain Hal Sutton has reason to take notice.
Not only did Daly beat a world-class field at Torrey Pines earlier this year for his first U.S. victory on the PGA Tour in 10 years, but he has shown signs of being a complete player more than any other time in his career.
His runner-up finish to Vijay Singh at the Buick Open on Sunday was his fifth top-10 finish of the year, matching a career high set in 1992. He has earned $2.1 million - Daly had never made more than $828,914 in a single season - to climb to 14th on the money list, moving him closer to securing a spot in his first Tour Championship.
Remember those rounds where Daly seemed to give up? He has only one score in the 80s this year, and that was the final round of The Players Championship, when he had to go for broke in a bid to get into the Masters (he got in, anyway).
Daly has missed at least eight cuts in each of his previous 13 years on tour. This year, the only two cuts he has missed were the Masters and the British Open.
And the latest PGA Tour statistics Monday indicate what kind of year he is having. Daly is No. 1 in the all-around ranking, a combination of eight key categories. He is third in driving distance and third in putting.
'I played with John many a times. Gosh, he hits the ball, and he chipped and putted, and his iron shots ... I don't think anyone else could have played any better than that,' Singh said.
Daly took great pride winning in February at Torrey Pines, not only because he had not won in the United States since 1994, but because it was the first time he won with Tiger Woods in the field.
Equally meaningful was his runner-up finish Sunday at the Buick Open.
Daly started the final round two shots behind Singh, then erased that deficit with an explosive start that sent the pro-Daly gallery into a frenzy - birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie.
Only a player of Singh's ability could withstand that kind of pressure from Daly's game and his crowd. Singh figured he was headed for a playoff when he missed a 6-foot par putt on the final hole but got a reprieve when Daly misread his 5-footer for par to force a playoff.
'Hal will really have to look at his performance,' Singh said. 'The way John was hitting the driver, gosh, it was not only long, but pretty straight, too. And he's rolling his ball. He should be considered. I don't know if he's going to be picked. There's a good chance, I think.'
Daly might be the people's choice, although Sutton has other choices to consider - Jerry Kelly, Scott Verplank, Stewart Cink and Jay Haas are ahead of Daly in the standings and have proven themselves over the last two years.
If he is left off the team, it wouldn't be the first time.
His timing hasn't been the best.
For 10 years, the reigning PGA champion was an automatic selection to the Ryder Cup team. That changed in 1991, the year Daly went from the ninth alternate at Crooked Stick to the ultimate Cinderella story in golf by overpowering the field to win his first major.
He had gone 26 tournaments without a top 10 when he won the '95 British Open at St. Andrews. Daly needed to finish fifth at the PGA Championship that year to earn a spot on the team. He missed the cut at Riviera, and captain Lanny Wadkins went with experience by taking Fred Couples and Curtis Strange.
Daly's career has been too unpredictable to be an obvious captain's pick. He has been thinking about the Ryder Cup ever since winning in February, but he's not about to lobby Sutton.
'That's his decision,' Daly said. 'I just know if I do get picked, I would be ready. And I'd love to play.'
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it
There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.
There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.
Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.
The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."
Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:
If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.
“The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”
The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.
Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).
We followed our defending champion Toto Gana during his registration! He even did his Donald Duck impression!— LAAC (@LAAC_Golf) January 17, 2018
Acompañamos a Toto Gana, defensor del título, durante todo el proceso de acreditación. ¡Incluso imitó a Donald Duck!#LAAC2018 pic.twitter.com/NGh7hS4cCz
Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in
There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.
Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.
While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.
Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:
1. Brooks Koepka
2. Dustin Johnson
3. Patrick Reed
4. Justin Thomas
5. Jordan Spieth
6. Rickie Fowler
7. Bubba Watson
8. Webb Simpson
9. Bryson DeChambeau
10. Phil Mickelson
11. Matt Kuchar
12. Brian Harman
On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.
Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:
1. Tyrrell Hatton
2. Justin Rose
3. Tommy Fleetwood
4. Francesco Molinari
5. Thorbjorn Olesen
6. Ross Fisher
1. Jon Rahm
2. Rory McIlroy
3. Alex Noren
4. Matthew Fitzpatrick
5. Ian Poulter
6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello
Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win
Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.
Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.
The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.
The second is from Sunday night.
And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.
Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.
Koepka moves to No. 4 in world with U.S. Open win
After successfully defending his U.S. Open title, Brooks Koepka reached a new career high in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Koepka held off Tommy Fleetwood to win by a shot Sunday at Shinnecock Hills, becoming the first player to go back-to-back in nearly 30 years. As a result, he jumped five spots in the latest rankings to No. 4, six spots higher than he reached with last year's U.S. Open victory at Erin Hills.
Fleetwood finished alone in second place and moved up two spots to No. 10, tying his career-best placement. Patrick Reed moved up two spots to No. 11 by finishing fourth, while fifth-place Tony Finau went from No. 37 to No. 31.
It was a largely quiet week in the rankings despite the fact that a major championship was contested. Outside of Koepka and Finau, the only other player inside the top 50 to move up or down more than three spots was Jason Dufner, who went from 53rd to 48th with a T-25 finish.
Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1 for the second consecutive week, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Koepka and Jordan Spieth. Jon Rahm dropped one spot to No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Fleetwood rounding out the top 10. Hideki Matsuyama fell two spots to No. 12, dropping out of the top 10 for the first time since October 2016.
Despite a missed cut at Shinnecock, Tiger Woods actually moved up one spot to No. 79 in the latest rankings. He plans to play the Quicken Loans National and The Open in the coming weeks, which will be his final two chances to move into the top 50 in time to qualify for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The event is being held for the final time this summer at Firestone Country Club, where Woods has won eight times.