Here’s something we haven’t seen in a really, really long time: John Daly near the top of the leaderboard through 54 holes (yes, he’s made it that far!) at a PGA Tour event. Daly fired a respectable three-under 67 on moving day at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club to put him at two-under for the tournament, three shots behind current leader Bo Van Pelt.
Daly is in striking distance for his first PGA Tour victory since — pardon me for a moment, I need to look this up — 2004 at the Buick Invitational (winning the ’06 and ’07 TELUS Skins Game, aka exhibition event, doesn’t count, obviously). With the extra *rough* conditions (which have triggered nonstop griping from players) this week, does Daly have enough tenacity to piece together another 18 holes? If we’re judging by his track record this season, the odds don’t look too good.
In 13 events (12 of which he received sponsor’s exemptions) the two-time major champion has only made four cuts, with his best finish being T38 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Wait, actually, this might be a positive — Daly went low in the final round in Memphis to move up the leaderboard.
Can he find the mental will to push through another 18 holes? Well, good news is that the course is so difficult that it’s distracting him from his position.
“I think the golf course is so hard, you just kind of forget about that,” said Daly when asked about his emotions on being in contention. “You take one shot, one hole at a time because any hole — like yesterday on 18, I made it 2-under par, and I hit driver and tried to hit an 8-iron and lay it up in the rough and I made a 7.
“So any hole any time can get you out here. So I think playing this golf course is all I can do.”
Regardless of anyone’s personal opinions on Daly, I don’t think most people would mind seeing him in contention (especially the TV execs). It’d be a huge boost for golf if Daly could pull off a win, but if history serves as a guide, we shouldn’t get too ahead of ourselves.
“It would be nice (to win), but like you said, it’s so hard that you’re thinking more about the golf course,” he said. “But, yeah, it would be great, of course. I screw up a little bit and I can make eagle on that. You can’t do that out here. Every hole is just too hard.”
Well, Daly certainly has an..err…pragmatic attitude. (I know, I know, shocking!)
(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)