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Results will come for Daly

Despite meltdown in Australia, 2011 was his best season in many years

November 10, 2011
B.J. LISKO - Salem News Sports Editor (bjlisko@salemnews.net) , Salem News

John Daly is ranked No. 666 in the world. Anyone else find that a little bit eerie?

In the latest chapter of the John Daly Show, Daly pulled a "Tin Cup," dropping seven balls into the water on the par-5 11th hole at the Australian Open. Only for Daly, he didn't hole a shot that made the fans erupt in celebration. Daly ran out of golf balls and had to walk off the course.

Defending Daly is getting to be a tough proposition. His actions got him uninvited from the Australian PGA Championship scheduled in two weeks.

That he is a fan-favorite isn't at all a question, and episodes like this are pretty common place nowadays.

What makes it so frustrating for fans of Daly, myself included, is the guy can still play. He just can't seem to avoid a meltdown.

Preceding his par-5 debacle, Daly accidentally played the wrong ball out of a bunker (a practice range ball - how does that happen on a professional golf course?) and was already well on his way to an ugly first round.

It's at points like that where Daly loses his cool. Recovering from a bad hole remains one of his biggest challenges.

Not two weeks ago Daly was invited to the Shanghai Masters, an unofficial event in China, where he was paid an appearance fee and then went out and showed he still belonged among golf's elite by shooting a 6-under, carding a top-10 and $80K in a field that included Rory McIlroy, Anthony Kim, Hunter Mahan, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter. Daly finished better than Keegan Bradley, Geoff Ogilvy, Paul Casey, Jim Furyk, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel among others.

Earlier this year Daly carded another top-10 at the RBC Canadian Open where he shot an even-par 280 for $140K on an extremely difficult course besting the likes of Ernie Els, Ricki Fowler, Ben Crane and Matt Kuchar.

But Daly has shot himself in the foot so many times it's a wonder he can still walk a fairway.

Australia and Daly have never been a match made in heaven, and this is far from the first incident he's had there. So maybe it's a good thing he won't be invited back.

But all things considered, that Daly's demons are almost strictly on the golf course these days is a feat that's never going to show up in the statistics.

Daly has cleaned himself up. He's not the beer-swilling, fast food junkie he once was. Yeah, he still chain smokes and chugs liters of Diet Coke every day, but what casual observers haven't seen is just how much in fact he's changed for the better.

He's not the most patient of players, and it's taken a long time for his life changes to produce any kind of real results on the golf course, which is why you see his frustration boil over so often.

What people can't forget is that Daly was a freakishly good player when he was dealing with insane drama off the course.

Now that his personal life has settled with a steady girlfriend who seems to come with far less baggage then his ex-wives, and that Daly was awarded custody of his 7-year-old son last winter, success off the course is eventually going to translate to success on it. He's too talented for it not to.

No one said it would be easy or that it would happen overnight, but Daly has shown signs of his ability in 2011 far more than he has in quite a few years preceding.

Many people wrote off John Daly a long time ago.

But I'm here to tell you to watch him in 2012. Because while this may not be the last meltdown we ever see from him on the course, with the strides he's made up to get his life on track, it's the last time we're going to see him ranked at No. 666.

E-mail B.J. Lisko at bjlisko@salemnews.net

 
 
 

 

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