by Jeff Skinner
We’ll get to see a few familiar sights at The Heritage this week: The landmark lighthouse that tells us it’s Harbour Town, that plaid jacket the winner gets and all that footage of Davis Love III as he wins this thing five times. Another sight that is becoming less familiar on tour is that of the much slimmer John Daly. The last time we saw Daly, he was hawking his goods out of his RV in a parking lot at The Masters.
Daly is in the field at The Heritage on a sponsor’s exemption and we’ve been seeing much less of Big John on the PGA Tour and it’s not because he lost all the weight. The much thinner Daly has had a tough time getting his game in as good shape as his waistline.
In six appearances on tour he has made only one cut at The Farmers in San Diego where he tied for 65th and pocketed $12,000. That’s barely enough to keep him in Diet Coke and smokes. Daly is trying to earn his living playing wherever he can. He has about eight or nine more appearances on the PGA Tour this year and he’ll be at The PGA Championship and The Open Championship as a past champion but he is seeing fewer and fewer opportunities to showcase his game.
There was a day when Daly was as big a draw as there was but those days are gone. He still draws plenty of fans but his decline in play and his behavior has made him less appealing than he used to be. Daly has mounted many “comebacks” from any number of situations but so far this season his golf game isn’t going to earn him much money.
This pairing at The Heritage might be a test for Daly. He’s paired with Kevin Na, a notoriously slow player, and Big John likes to play as fast as anyone in golf. This could be a formula for some fireworks. Daly could probably down a few cokes between each of Na’s shots. He’ll need to be at his most patient for the first two rounds if he hopes to cash a check and we all know patience isn’t one of Daly’s strong points.
Daly will be followed and cheered by plenty of fans for the first two rounds but if he wants to play the weekend he’ll need more than a colorful outfit. He’ll need a little patience and a better brand of golf that he’s been playing lately.
John Daly has always done things his own way. If he wants to continue to get chances on The PGA Tour it’s time to man up. In the immortal words of Jim Colbert, “Play better.”