Cheers Were All for Big John

By George WhiteApril 26, 2005, 4:00 pm
It certainly isn't the refined thing to do, this whoopy-do hollering when someone misses a putt in golf.
But Vijay Singh was acutely aware of whom the fan favorite was Sunday. And it wasnt him. The cheers that erupted when he missed a makeable putt on the 72nd hole were impolite, to say the least. They were cheers for the good fortune of one John Daly, who as a result of Singh's missed putt would now be in a playoff.
John Daly and Vijay Singh
Even Vijay Singh had a rooting insterest in his friend John Daly.
But Singh didnt mind the outburst in the least. He realized that it would have happened to anyone who was unfortunate enough to get between John Daly and victory. In fact, if he was anywhere else except grinding it out on the golf course, he admitted that he would probably have done exactly what the gallery did in Houston Sunday.
It was definitely a no-no - definitely, except when John Daly is involved somewhere in the mix. Vijays misfire meant that Daly would get into a playoff ' a playoff that Daly would eventually lose when his first tee shot bounded into the water.
If I was in the crowd, said Singh, I'd probably say the same. Everyone loves John. If I was in there, I would have wanted to see a playoff anyway. ... It didn't bother me at all.
Theres something about John Daly, and Im not exactly sure what it is. He comes across as a big ol loveable oaf at times, a mixed-up, confused adult at others. But my wife will forgive John almost any transgression, make excuses for almost any lapse of playing ability, forgive almost any personal misstep that Daly makes. And she is merely one of a million or so Daly-acs who will fiercely stand by their favorite Paul Bunyon.
Why? I dont understand it. My wife is rather stern when it comes to personal deportment. But where John is concerned? Dont you dare say anything untoward against John!
Daly is like some sort of big cuddly teddy bear, and in a perverse sort of way, it enhances his likeability factor even more when he frequently hits the skids. John, it must be said, can do no wrong when it comes to his legion of fans around the globe.
Daly is only a day or two shy of his 39th birthday. He has been all over the map in the playing category during his career won the PGA Championship early on, won a British Open. But there were six years that he couldnt even finish in the top 100 on the money list. He just emerged from a rocky patch of two months when he shot in the 80s three times. In the last six weeks prior to last week, in fact, he had shot in the 60s only once.
John Daly
John Daly reacts to his birdie putt on the 72nd hole at the Shell Houston Open.
It's just been a year I haven't scored real well. I've hit it great, said John, and if that is true, then his putting must have been terrible. And Daly has a reputation of being a very good putter.
He may have solved his problem, though. A change of length and lie of his putter may have been the answer. He had been using a 35-inch putter in the past, but switched to a 34 -inch model. Teacher Steve Holden convinced him to switch back to the 35.
He said, That's what we need to do. It can't hurt because you're putting like crap,' said Daly with brutal, if not to too cultured, honesty.
My caddie, Peter, he's honest with me, too. He says, You're putting so bad you need to try something. So we did. I looked at some footage of the '91 PGA (which he won), and I know I had a putter that was at least 70 (lie) and it was 35 inches long. The ball is rolling better than I've rolled it in a long, long time.

The most gratifying part of his day, though, was making birdie on the final two holes of regulation to get into the playoff. Actually, the entire back nine Sunday was an exciting adventure for Daly. He says he took something away from Houston, even going into his 39th year.
I take a lot, said Daly. I take it that under pressure that maybe I've still got it.
Birdieing 15, 17 and 18 - well, actually, 12, 15, 17 and 18 - gave myself a chance to win the golf tournament. You know, when you're not there a lot, it's kind of nice to do that. It would be nice to be there a lot like Vijay and Ernie and Tiger and Phil and those guys are, but when you're not there a lot, to be able to pull those shots off makes me feel more confident about it.
Daly, it must be said, doesnt know why he is so popular. My own very unscientific poll tells me he is the second most popular golfer in America, right after Tiger Woods. He is more widely appreciated than Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Singh, or anyone except Tiger. And he really isnt very far behind Tiger.
The world can be thankful that John has only won nine times (four internationally). Just think what the situation would be if he had won half as many as Tiger ' say, 20 times. I dont think the known world would be able to handle it. And I know the sport of golf wouldnt.
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Garcia among bubble boys keeping playoff hopes alive

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 12:34 am

Sergio Garcia gave himself a chance to keep his perfect FedExCup Playoffs record going with his rally Friday at the Wyndham Championship.

D.A. Points moved into position to make a historic leap into the postseason.

And Johnson Wagner dunked his last shot of the day from long range to keep his hopes of making the playoffs alive.

But the day didn’t end nearly as well for Tyrone Van Aswegen’s FedExCup hopes.

Van Aswegen didn’t do himself any favors trying to hold on to the 125th spot on the FedExCup points list. He missed the cut by a shot.

Only the top 125 advance to The Northern Trust and next week’s start to the playoffs.

Van Aswegen wasn’t alone among “bubble boys” missing the cut. No. 122 Jhonattan Vegas, No. 123 Seamus Power, No. 124 Martin Piller, No. 126 Chad Campbell and No. 127 Robert Garrigus all failed to make the weekend.

Garcia is among 13 players who have advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs every year since they began in 2007, but his run was in jeopardy of ending starting the week. He’s 131st on the FedExCup points list

With a 65 Friday following his opening round 66, Garcia is in more than a great position to advance. He’s in position to win the Wyndham. He is tied for fourth, five shots off the lead. The day ended with Garcia projected to move up to 118th on the FedExCup points list.

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Current FedExCup points list

“I'm just going to try to keep building on the things that I did well these first two days,” Garcia said. “Whatever happens, happens. Like I said at the beginning of the week, if I have a great weekend, then it will be great. If I don't have a great weekend, it will still be great because

I'll get to rest.”

Points started the week 214th on the FedExCup points list. With back-to-back 64s, he trails only Brandt Snedeker going into the weekend. He’s projected to move to 81st in points. Nobody has ever started the Wyndham Championship that far back in points and qualified for the playoffs. Davis Love III was 186th when he won and advanced in 2015.

Wagner, 136th on the FedExCup points list, went to spectacular lengths Friday to keep his playoff hopes alive. He was outside the cut line until holing his 153-yard approach at the last.

Bill Haas, who is among those 13 players to have qualified for the playoffs every year, started the week 150th in points. He can keep his perfect playoff record going with a big weekend. He shot 68 Friday to make the cut. He’s tied for 52nd in the tournament.

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Points two back after missing 16 of 17 cuts

By Randall MellAugust 17, 2018, 11:54 pm

What’s the better story come Sunday?

Brandt Snedeker turning his 59 in the opening round into a victory at the Wyndham Championship?

Or D.A. Points winning after missing 16 cuts in his last 17 starts?

They’re both scripts in the works at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.

Points, who has been struggling this season with a herniated disc that causes numbness in his fingers, has broken through his season-long funk to shoot back-to-back 64s. He starts the weekend in second place, two shots behind Snedeker.

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“It's been difficult,” Points said of his slump. “It's been hard on my family. I was in this position a couple years ago, and I clawed my way back and won in Puerto Rico.

“I had that big downturn, and I clawed my way out of it just to find myself way back down in another deep hole again.”

Points, 41, is a three-time PGA Tour winner. He won his first title playing alongside Bill Murray at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2011 and two years later won the Shell Houston Open. He slipped into a three-year funk after that, before rebuilding his game and winning the Puerto Rico Open last year.

“Hopefully, this is my way of starting to claw back out,” Points said.

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New 'Mr. 59' Snedeker needs Day 2 rally to keep Wyndham lead

By Randall MellAugust 17, 2018, 11:24 pm

Brandt Snedeker struggled coming off the emotional high that comes with shooting 59, but it didn’t stop him from rallying Friday to try to turn his historic round into a victory at the Wyndham Championship.

After a sluggish start to the second round, Snedeker caught fire on the back nine at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., to take the lead going into the weekend.

With a 3-under 67, Snedeker moved to 14 under overall, two shots ahead of D.A. Points (64).

“I knew it was going to be tough” Snedeker said. “It wasn't going to be the same way it was yesterday. Kind of battling the emotion of everybody pulling hard for you, wanting to see you do it again. So the front nine was disappointing.”

A day after becoming the ninth player in PGA Tour history to post a sub-60 tournament round, Snedeker opened with three bogeys and two birdies on the front nine. He said it was a struggle to begin anew.

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“You hear people telling you every two seconds, `Mr. 59,’ or saying how cool it was to watch it,” Snedeker said. “Phone's still blowing up this morning, guys in the locker room are still talking to me about it. So, yes, totally on your mind. You can't ignore it. You can't try to forget about it. Hardest thing is trying to get back into a rhythm.”

Snedeker did with an eagle and two birdies on the back nine. Rolling in a 30-foot eagle putt at the 15th gave him back the lead he lost earlier in the round.

“To see that go in was huge,” Snedeker said.

Not every player to break 60 on the PGA Tour has gone on to win. In fact, Snedeker is looking to become just the fifth player to do so.

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Garwood (64) leads Dick's Sporting Goods Open

By Associated PressAugust 17, 2018, 9:53 pm

ENDICOTT, N.Y. - Doug Garwood birdied the final three holes for an 8-under 64 and the first-round lead Friday in the Dick's Sporting Goods Open.

The 55-year-old Garwood had nine birdies and a bogey, playing his final nine holes - the front nine at En-Joie Golf Club - in 6-under 31.

''Drove it well, hit the irons well, pitched well, putted well, thought well,'' Garwood said. ''I got to a point I was just making birdies and I kind of lost track of how it was going,'' Garwood said. ''That's always a good thing.''

He won the 2016 SAS Championship for his lone PGA Tour Champions title.

Full-field scores from the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open

"I haven't been playing great this year, but I've been working hard on my game and things I've been working on are paying off,'' Garwood said. ''My golf, I take it a shot at a time, don't think about too far in advance because you really can't control, you know, the 13th hole tomorrow. It's just about the tee shot on No. 1.''

Michael Bradley and Marco Dawson shot 65, Woody Austin and Clark Dennis followed at 66, and Bob Estes and Tom Gillis were at 67.

''It was a good day,'' Bradley said. ''I've traditionally not driven the ball well here and you've got to drive the ball good here to shoot a good score. I drove the ball well and made a few putts, so that was that.''

Kenny Perry, the 3M Championship winner two weeks ago in Minnesota, had a 68. Bernard Langer and Miguel Angel Jimenez each shot 70. Langer won the 2014 tournament. Jimenez is coming off a victory at St. Andrews in the British Senior Open.

Defending champion Scott McCarron had a 72. Kevin Sutherland also had a 72. He shot the only 59 in PGA Tour Champions history in the 2014 event. John Daly, the winner of the PGA Tour's 1992 B.C. Open at En-Joie, opened with a 73.