Dalys Appeal a Mystery But Its Genuine

By George WhiteJanuary 28, 2002, 5:00 pm
Hes 35 years old, entering what you would call early middle age. And 35-plus years has left its mark on him ' the wild partying days of being a wealthy young man, the cold reality of being drunk and contemplating suicide, the days of being sober but having an addiction to chocolates.
 
John Daly is pudgy - granted. Hes got lines where there shouldnt be lines. He smokes cigarettes like they were toothpicks. He has never spoken such thoughts, but he probably has nightmares of the times when he would painfully put a peg in the ground and want to stay there ' its called a hangover.
 
But theres one other thing about John Daly and all those life experiences - hes become a pretty consistent golfer. The man who was careening down a path to early ruin has at last started to pick up top-10s in bunches.
 
It started last year, and its picked up this year. Sunday was an almost ' he led the Phoenix Open at one time but just couldnt quite finish. He wound up two shots behind winner Chris DiMarco in a tie for fourth.
 
A funny thing happened, though. The people just love him, regardless of what he does. My wife is crazy about John, and Ive struggled to understand it. I think its because that, in all the times hes botched it up, he humbly admits hes wrong and tries to do better. And he's made a sincere ' if sometimes flawed ' desire to make it right.
 
Its been awhile, though, since he had to say the mea culpas. Lately, it sounds like the world is right by J. Daly. One thing is impressive ' he refuses to say he will win, or even that he will contend this year. He loves what is happening to him at this moment, though, as he told the writers gathered at Phoenix.
 
So, is John Daly back?
 
I dont know, he said honestly. I just love the way Im striking the ball. And you know, I just hope we get some more contention rounds, and maybe one day Ill come out on top.
 
The galleries, of course, are completely dazzled. Again, its a bit mystifying. Theres nothing in the world that is slick, no funny one-liners and no smooth wise-cracks. He isnt Fuzzy or Trevino. But his popularity has grown to the extent that it is almost unimaginable.
 
Daly admits to being a bit mystified, too. He hears the crowds, he knows something special is going on. But hes as clueless as I am about the popularity thing.
 
I dont know, he says, a bit bewildered by it all. I think people kind of relate to what Ive gone through. Everyone knows about my life, all Ive been through, the good things, the bad things. And I just think people relate to that.
 
Winner Chris DiMarco was Dalys playing partner the third round at Phoenix. He was just an anonymous face with a funny putting grip. But hes so happy that good fortune has begun to smile on John.
 
You know, I guess ' you know, Johns a great guy, said DiMarco. He really is. Hes fun to play with. They (the fans) love him, and they let him know about a thousand times a hole.
 
Daly felt completely at ease, but then he must feel at ease all over the country. He walks out to putt a little, smack a few drives, loosens up ' and the fans welcome him like some kind of long-lost brother.
 
I mean, its amazing, he said. Everywhere I go, it feels like home. You know, its just good to be playing good for the fans. It means an awful lot to them, and it means an awful lot to me.
 
Daly may have quit the carousing, the boozing, the brooding, the stray women, but one thing he hasnt quit is the smoking. Too many things at one time ' or so he says. His colorful language is funny when he tries to describe it.
 
Hell, Ive quit too much other (stuff) to worry about quitting smoking, he said, and stuff came out sounding suspiciously like spit. I mean, theres probably two things Im not going to quit ' sex and smoking ' right now.
 
Zoeller calls him Piggy, referring to his former days as an Arkansas Razorback. Piggy is now in the sty, just living life at its most basic. He has stopped running around trying to be a wild man, not feeling like he has to experience every one of lifes emotions before he dies. He plays golf now. Period.
 
Its a new feeling every day ' I mean, when I play, said John. Its a great feeling. Its something that ' you know, I just ' I just love it.
 

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'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

“The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

“That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”

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Ball headed O.B., Stone (68) gets huge break

By Mercer BaggsJuly 19, 2018, 2:14 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Brandon Stone knew it when he hit it.

“I knew I hit it out of bounds,” the South African said following his opening round in the 147th Open Championship.

Stone’s second shot on the par-4 18th, from the left fescue, was pulled into the grandstands, which are marked as O.B. But instead of settling in with the crowd, the ball ricocheted back towards the green and nearly onto the putting surface.

Stone made his par and walked away with a 3-under 68, two shots off the early lead.

“I really didn’t put a good swing on it, bad contact and it just came out way left,” Stone said. “I feel so sorry for the person I managed to catch on the forehead there, but got a lucky break.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“When you get breaks like that you know you’re going to have good weeks.”

It’s been more than just good luck recently for Stone. He shot 60 in the final round – missing a 9-foot birdie putt for the first 59 in European Tour history – to win last week’s Scottish Open. It was his third career win on the circuit and first since 2016. It was also just his first top-10 of the season.

“A testament to a different mental approach and probably the change in putter,” said Stone, who added that he switched to a new Ping Anser blade model last week.

“I’ve been putting, probably, the best I have in my entire life.”

This marks Stone’s sixth start in a major championship, with his best finish a tie for 35th in last year’s U.S. Open. He has a missed cut and a T-70 in two prior Open Championships.