by Jeff Skinner
Most tournaments that follow a major championship have a tough time attracting serious attention on the PGA Tour. There’s always a “major hangover” that follows each of the majors. But the Wyndham Championship occupies a unique place on the PGA Tour.
The Wyndham is the last opportunity to earn points to move in the top 125 and get into the FedEx Cup Playoffs and also earn money towards a tour card for next season.
There are plenty of intriguing stories as the players below the top 125 try and make that all significant move into the promised land of the top 125. Earning full playing privileges for 2013 is about as important as it gets out there.
Making a valiant effort to return to the tour full time is the ever popular John Daly. Daly currently sits at 131st on the money list ($479,595) and 137th on the FedEx Cup points list. Daly has recently rolled into form with a T5 at The Reno-Tahoe Open and a T18 at last week’s PGA Championship. If not for a bad weather 77 in the second round at Kiawah Daly might have placed much higher.
Daly has struggled on and off the course for as long as we can all remember. He hasn’t earned this much on the PGA Tour since 2005 when he made $1.7 million. Daly’s troubles are well chronicled and he has self destructed on a dozen occasions. But lately, with a stable, alcohol free lifestyle, Daly has made a dramatic turnaround.
If we are to believe what we all saw on The Golf Channel’s “Feherty” Daly is now as mellow as Mr. Rogers. He lives with his children, home schools them, has jettisoned the hangers on that enabled his addictions and has a girlfriend that has steadied Big John like never before.
Only Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have as large and devoted a following as Daly. He lived and acted as a rock star for years until he flamed out numerous times but his fans never wavered in their affection for the two time major champion.
He’ll have a huge following this week at Wyndham pulling for him to move up so he can tee it up next week at The Barclays. And as polarizing a figure as Daly has been over the years he once again has become an interesting story and, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but he’s easy to cheer for again.
We all love stories of redemption and Daly is on the verge of a huge professional comeback. More importantly he may have already made his own personal comeback. And for a man that lived in the fastest of the fast lanes and was on a collision course with tragedy seeing Daly get his life together is heartwarming.
I have taken Daly to task dozens of times but to see him make this personal and professional comeback has won me over. I won’t be the only one pulling for Daly this week as his legions of fans will make their hero feel welcome.
If Daly can play well and get into the playoffs and then earn his 2013 tour card it will mark one amazing professional comeback. It will sure be interesting to watch.