03/14/2014

So as social media explodes, I am left sitting in my chair wondering ‘What in the world happened to John Daly today?’

I mean, his round of 90 wasn’t an aberration by any means. As Luke Kerr-Dineen wrote for Golf Digest, this isn’t the first time Daly’s entered 80+ zone. In fact, he’s done it some 70 times. He has a pocket full of recorded 86s, 87s and 88s. He has a boatload of 80-81s and a closet full of 82s, 83s and 84s. Today though was ordinary if not for one factoid– Daly had never fired higher than 89.

Oops, that 12 on the par-4 16th really did him in…

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I received a text from my dad this afternoon saying this, “Johnny d. Damn near broke 90 today, but that was from the blues.” I laughed. My dad was right. He almost cracked the 90 mark.

Over the years, the media has treaded the line between sympathy and apathy for John Daly. He’s an arrogant drunk with no respect for regularity one moment, and the next he’s opening his heart to David Feherty on the Golf Channel, explaining his life and decisions he’s made– making no excuses along the way. It all gives me a very cloudy view of John Daly.

He’s likable and the fans adore him sure– but when I see rounds like this posted, I often ask myself if the sponsor’s exemption spot used by Daly, could be better serviced to a player who may be looking for an opportunity to shine? Maybe it’s a globally ranked collegiate amateur, maybe it’s a Monday qualifying spot, but there has to be a guy out there who can make use of his opportunity than Daly and his 90 at the Valspar, right? Now there is merit to this argument, but at the end of the day, golf starves for popularity. If anything, Daly gives the game some publicity and intrigue. And it isn’t always in vein either– the man is a two-time major champion, remember.

I see Daly make 12s, and 10s and the famous 18 at Bay Hill and wonder to myself two things: one, is he trying to accomplish the “Tin Cup” feat as this a matter of personal goal? Or two, is it simply Daly’s IDGAF attitude? (excuse my lettering…) Daly explained after the round, he’s been suffering from the yips.┬áSo maybe it’s neither.

Yahoo!’s Shane Bacon noted the liberal usage of the word “yips”, as opposed to the venom received by golfers when the dreaded “s-word” is uttered. The “yips” ruin more career’s 10:1. And now John Daly has them, attached to a litany of other problems he is now facing.

Daly talked after the round about his opportunity to play overseas followed by reluctance after the Malaysian airline lost in recent weeks. He talked about his fear of flying and his opinion on the state of the world. As someone who sees the darkness in this world as well, I can’t disagree with him. But to couple those fears with his contracted case of the “yips” and a career (loosely defined) on the biggest stage in golf, a score of 90 might be the least of his worries.

At least he turned in his scorecard, right?

Troy Klongerbo

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