SOUTHPORT, England -- John Daly is out of excuses and the British Open after an 89 on Friday left him at 29-over-par for the tournament and a staggering 20 strokes on the wrong side of the cut line.
Daly began the week talking about injuries and blasting former coach Butch Harmon, who ended their brief relationship in March after saying Daly was drinking too much and more interested in partying than practicing. Daly said those remarks cost him endorsements and caused him considerable pain.
His round Friday included a quintuple-bogey 9 and three doubles. He missed an 18-inch putt at the 18th and was cheered by fans who howled when the Wild Thing was in his prime and pounding tee shots through the wind and into the distance. He walked off the green, stopped to sign an autograph'left-handed, while cradling a cigarette in his right hand'then signed his card and climbed into the back of a waiting car. He declined comment.
LINKS TO THE BOOTH: Four straight bogeys late in his round kept Tom Watson from making the cut. He followed his 74 in miserable weather with a 76 in slightly better conditions, missing a weekend tee time by one shot.
Next up for Watson is the Senior British Open at Royal Troon, one of five links courses where he won the British Open.
But he wont be leaving Royal Birkdale just yet.
Watson reluctantly agreed to try broadcasting this weekend and will join ABC Sports as a commentator.
They asked me to do it, and I said, I dont want to do that. But on the other hand, the British Open is not a bad place for you to do it, Watson said. You have a chance to play in it, see the golf course, and tell the viewers what you think of a particular shot. I said, You know what? I probably can do that. Let me give it a try. So thats what Im going to do the next couple days.
MONTY PLAYS ON: Colin Montgomerie started his round only three shots out of the lead. He finished hoping to make the cut.
He made it with one shot to spare, overcoming an atrocious start'two double bogeys and a triple bogey before reaching the seventh tee. The worst of it was No. 5, a triple bogey from the fairway. After an approach into thick grass, Monty not only whiffed with a wedge, the attempt buried the ball even deeper.
He took a penalty drop, and it rolled into a divot.
I didnt want to go on, he said.
But he answered with birdies on his next two holes and wound up with a 75 that at least allowed him to keep playing.
Im quite proud that I managed to play the last 12 holes in 2 under feeling the way I did walking off the sixth green, because that wasnt a great feeling, believe me, Montgomerie said.
The cut was at 9-over 149, the highest since it was 12-over 154 at Carnoustie in 1999.
Among those on their way home were three players from the top 10 in the world'Geoff Ogilvy, Stewart Cink and Vijay Singh.
OLYMPIC HELP: Golf has another voice in its campaign to be part of the Olympics'Jack Nicklaus.
Ive offered to help where I can, if I can, Nicklaus said Friday during a brief stop at Royal Birkdale. Im doing golf courses around the world. If golf became an Olympic sport, it would get government financing. It would be a big thing in the world of golf to get financing in a lot of places where golf is not played.
Nicklaus wasnt even aware that golf executives had put together a plan and met with IOC officials in May. He said he was in his office Monday chatting about golf and the Olympics when an assistant called the PGA Tour to inquire about the chances. Thats when they learned of an announcement Tuesday at the British Open, in which Ty Votaw was chosen to lead the effort.
I just told them wherever they need me, Id be happy to help, Nicklaus said. If Im going to one of these countries and they have an IOC guy theyd like to have me talk to, Id be delighted.
VERPLANK CARRIES ON:The wife of PGA TOUR rules official Dillard Pruitt died Friday from complications of cystic fibrosis, news that hit Scott Verplank particularly hard after he finished his second round of the British Open.
Fran Pruitt, who was 46, and Verplanks wife were sisters.
Shes the one who introduced us, he said quietly as he sat in the locker room at Royal Birkdale, so numb over the news that he wasnt the least bit interested in his round of 67 that brought him back into contention, five shots out of the lead.
Pruitts death touched many PGA TOUR members.
Her husband played on the PGA TOUR from 1988 to 1996 before he decided to become a rules officials. He is the younger brother of Jan Haas, who is married to Champions Tour player Jay Haas. And she set up her little sister, Kim, on a blind date in Dallas with Verplank.
Fran Pruitt had been awaiting a double lung transplant and took a turn for the worse earlier this week. Verplank, who brought his son with him to Britain and celebrated Scotties 16th birthday Monday, said he considered withdrawing Thursday, but his wife and Dillard Pruitt insisted he play.
My wife said the only good news she had today was getting a text that I was playing good and that someone saw Scottie on TV, Verplank said.
VIVE VAN DE VELDE: For the first time since St. Andrews eight years ago, Jean Van de Velde will be playing on the weekend at the British Open. The Frenchman famous for his comical collapse at Carnoustie in 1999 was actually on the leaderboard Friday, just two shots out, until struggling on the back nine.
He wound up with a 71 and at 4-over 144 was only five shots out of the lead.
I had it going but made a couple of mistakes and paid the price for those, Van de Velde said of his double bogey on the 11th and a triple bogey on the 16th. But Im very happy. If it wasnt for a couple of blemishes, I could have been under par. Its should haves and would haves I guess.
No one knows that better than Van de Velde, who should have won the 99 Open if he would have laid up short of Barry Burn on the 18th hole. Then he could have avoided a triple bogey on the final hole and perhaps not lost in a playoff.
ROCCO ROCKS: Rocco Mediate keeps delivering big moments in the majors, the latest keeping him in the hunt Friday. After chopping up the par-5 17th for a bogey, his approach to the 18th stopped inches away for a tap-in birdie and a 73.
That put him only two shots behind 53-year-old Greg Norman.
Mediate was alone in the lead until his 3-wood went well to the right on the tough 11th hole. His chip went sideways, and he wound up with a double bogey. Then came another bogey on the 14th, the bogey on the 17th, and his big finish.
I made two bad swings today, and I got what I deserved on those holes, he said of the 11th and 17th. Other than that, I didnt make as many putts today, obviously. I hit the ball a million times better, shot four shots higher. Go figure. Thats how it works in this game.
Does he have a better chance trying to catch Norman at Birkdale than Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines?
Its still a major, Mediate said. Its still going to be the most exciting thing ever if youre in the hunt. The difference is, you dont have to look him (Woods) in the eye. Id rather him be here than not, to tell you the truth.