Friday, May 15, 2009

Forget the pants, has Big John found his game?

Checking out the golf scene:

-- There’s always been a clown quality to John Daly but now he’s wearing the pants to prove it.

In case you haven’t seen the new duds Big John is wearing while he tours Europe, they apparently come from the Ringling Brothers collection. They are as bright and outrageous as Big John’s career has been.

What’s more interesting is the possibility that Daly has relocated his lost game. When he finished tied for second at the Italian Open last week, it was like a blast from the past. Granted, the field wasn’t very strong – the best players were at The Players Championship – but it was a big step for Big John.

He got off to a good start in the Irish Open this week and there’s reason to think Daly may be serious about his golf again. He’s been working with swing coach Rick Smith, who may have more success with them than Butch Harmon did.

Daly has lost weight with the help of surgery and says he’s intent on being a player again. We’ve heard it before. Maybe this time it’s true.

He intends to play a full schedule in Europe until he can return to the PGA Tour in June. That’s a long time in Big John’s world.

-- When Rory McIlroy said this week that making the European Ryder Cup team is “not a huge goal for me” and he considers the matches to be “an exhibition at the end of the day,” it naturally stirred a pot that’s never far from a boil.

McIlroy was making the point that his emphasis is on winning tournaments, not the Ryder Cup. He did add that if he makes the team – he’ll make it, no doubt – he’ll enjoy it.

Two things about what McIlroy said:

He’s right about where he puts his emphasis. It’s the same for every other player who plays the Ryder Cup;

And, when he plays in a Ryder Cup, he’ll feel differently about it. Just ask Hunter Mahan and David Duval, both of whom made similar remarks then found themselves swept up in the emotional tide the matches create.

-- Bob Rosburg, a familiar voice for years on golf telecasts, died on Thursday after a fall in California.

Rosburg, 82, had been battling cancer.

A former PGA champion, ‘Rossie’ was among the first on-course reporters during golf telecasts and he wasn’t shy about finding a player’s golf ball in the rough and saying, “He’s got no shot” or “that’s the worst lie I’ve ever seen.”

It became part of Rosburg’s gig.

The best may have come in 1976 when Rosburg said Jerry Pate was laying up on the 72nd hole of the U.S. Open at Atlanta Athletic Club only to see Pate rifle a famous Open-winning 5-iron shot to within three feet of the hole.

Golf lost a classic on Thursday.


Larry Dawalt said...

John Daly continues to be a people's champion, regardless of his numerous falls from grace. There is that slim hope among many that he will one day walk up the fairway of a finishing hole with a lead big enough that even Greg Norman couldn't squander, and reclaim a portion of his lost glory. At the same time, there is the reality that this man needs as much work with his 'off-course' demons as he does his swing and short game. He needs a life-coach. When he gets that and learns to play that game, he'll have the chance to come back. While much emphasis is placed on what goes on during the tournament, the fact of the matter is that professional golfers must have focus, determination, and a character strong enough to keep them pressing toward excellence. Distractions abound for all- not just John Daly. It is in the overcoming of those distractions that champions are born- or reborn, in the case of Daly.