Jul
25
2011
John Daly’s Driver Ends Drought
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Straight-shooter John Daly stayed out of the rough at Shaughnessy

Here now, is truly something we haven’t seen in a really, really long time: John Daly (and his pants) placing T9 at a PGA Tour event. In fact, it’s been six years since Daly finished in the top ten — the last time was his playoff loss at the 2005 American Express Championship. Unbelievable, huh? But at the same time, completely believable. The two-time major champion scrambled to shoot two-over 72 at the Canadian Open, even par for the tournament.

“Oh, it would have been nice (to win), you know,” said Daly after his best finish in six years. “I didn’t hit a lot of greens. I think only hit five or six greens today. I had two bad swings and made one hell of a par on 10. I looked like an amateur on that.”

He compensated with his chipping, which coincidentally, has been the weakest link of his game up until this week. And Daly even spoke of the positive takeaway.

“I love the way I chipped the last two days,” he said. “Under the heat today, I know I was kind of out of it there with four or five holes to go. But I made one heck of a par on 15, 17 and 18. I got them down a lot today. Probably in the past I would have shot an 80 or 82 today.”

Of course, it’s nearly impossible to bring up “John Daly” and not have it accompanied with “struggle” (or a synonym).

“Yeah, I mean, it’s been a struggle,” said Daly. “It’s like a lot of guys have been hurt, like myself out here. You cannot play good golf out here when you’re hurt. You know, I’ve had a little groin problem this week, but other than that, everything felt pretty good.”

Always something in the life of John Daly — it’s like a country music song. I empathize with trying to play golf hurt — no, it’s frustrating, demoralizing and just sucks.

Last night I said to a friend, “What’s the over/under on John Daly shooting 78 tomorrow?” If I’m being completely honest, I took the over (hey, if you’re judging by history…). Glad I was wrong.

Prior to this week, in 13 starts his best finish was T38 at the Fedex St. Jude Classic, not to mention he’d missed 9 cuts.

“It’s nice to see him play well,” said tournament champ Sean O’Hair, who played with Daly in the final round. “I think we all kind of want him to play well and get back to his form. I saw a lot of good things out of him this week.”

Indeed.

Here’s what I said in the latest edition of PGA Tour Confidential: “I’m not the biggest fan of Daly, but it’d be one of the greatest things for golf if he won another major. Okay, that’s not going to happen, but even winning a regular PGA Tour event would be big. From what I’ve learned via my blog, there are three players who move the needle — Tiger, John Daly and Michelle Wie. Has anyone seen the massive galleries that still live and die by every shot Daly hits no matter what he’s shooting? It’s incredible.”

To clarify, when I say “not the biggest fan,” I just mean that I can’t stand the blame game and not taking responsibility. It’s always something with him, but it’s never his fault. He’s also on pace to set the record for most WDs/DQs in history.

Here’s hoping the good play boosts his confidence and Long John keeps the momentum moving at the Greenbrier — where someone else can now have his sponsor’s exemption since a top-ten finish earned him a spot in the following week’s event.

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)