Ladies and Gentlemen…….John Daly

Is there anything that gets the sportszip more fired up than a -3 opening round from big John Daly in the PGA Championship. I don’t think so. Let me start by making the point that if one of the threesome of Tiger, Mickelson, and Daly was in contention for the championship on Sunday, which would draw the most attention and biggest audience. I believe that the answer is simple: John Daly. This guy can draw a crowd like no other. I honestly don’t know one person that routes against Daly. Everybody can relate to him, and enjoy to watch him bring his driver way beyond parralel and swing with reckless abandon. He’s the guy that goes to the casino and gambles constantly. He drinks diet pepsi and smokes cigarettes while earning his living. He’s the sideshow guy with his RV and memoribilia selling right out of the parking lot. He’s never the one to lay up, even when he is looking at coming into the clubhouse with a round of -3. He takes out driver, which is totally uncalled for and drives it over the water instead of laying up short and playing it safe like the rest of the field. These are the things that attract people to big John.

 Then there’s the fact that he has an unbelievable God-given talent. What an incredible player. With the talent that he has he should have 3x the major championships that he has (2), but maybe if he did we wouldn’t root for him as much. Also he is never one to bad mouth any other players. He never makes comments to draw attention to himself. Instead he is very humble when speaking about his game, and making hilarious remarks to reporters. All I’m saying is could there really be a more likable human being than John Daly. This guy has it all, including the golf game.

 I can remember a few years back when he was playing real well and was top 50 in the world, and it looked like he was making a big comeback. There was a tournament in San Francisco that he and Tiger went toe-toe in. I don’t recall the name, but I do know that the two eventually went head to head in a playoff. They stood on the 18th tee, and Tiger lead off by hammering a drive way out into the fairway. I distictly remember the announcer saying WOW increadible clutch drive by woods. It will be nearly impossible for John to match that. then John stepped up to the tee. His shirt was probably untucked somewhere in the back by this time, and he was proudly sporting his hooters logos all over. He had his driver in hand and took maybe one lazy practice swing. Then came his little wiggle with the clubhead as he stood over the ball. Then he unloaded one of his monster drives that all of us dream of hitting just once. The camera quickly shifted to the fairway where we would soon see John’s ball fly past Tiger’s long drive in the air. The whole clubhouse at my local golf club erupted as we watched. If there is anyone of this planet that isn’t afraid of Tiger it has to be Daly. Everyone thought Daly was going to take Tiger out in the playoff, and be well on his way back towards the top. Sadly that wasn’t the case. Daly ended up missing a short put later in the playoff and Tiger won. The part of this story that is important is that Daly is capable of coming up with those moments that you don’t forget. That is what captivates golf fans across the nation. Sure you can respect a guy who grinds it out for 18 holes and does well, but what we live for and why we play and watch golf is for those moments. Those shots when time slows down and you can really enjoy it and be a part of it. The moments that make chills run through your body. Like Tiger at the PGA in 2000 when he pointed that putt in vs. Bob May on the 16th in the playoff, or even Big John in the 1991 PGA as he walked up the 18th waiving his hand around in the air with a smile from ear to ear, and the crowd roaring for him. That is what golf is all about. That’s why we watch on Sunday, for that next great moment. We can only hope that Big John has another great moment left in him for us this week. Just like back in 91′ when he didn’t play a practice round and was the 9th alternate, he took this week off from playing at Southern Hills and it looks like it might just work again. We can only hope it does, we are all pulling for you John. Go get em’.

Let’s Talk US Open

Well it was a pretty exciting US Open to watch last weekend. Everyone got what they wanted, which was Tiger in the final pairing, and in contention on Sunday. NBC definitely had too many commercials in their coverage though, but what can you expect these days. I’m not a fan of all of these people complaining about the course and the conditions. This is supposed to be the toughest challenge all year. This is the toughest tournament, and is designed to bring out the best golfer. First of all I have to say after all of the complaining about how tough this course was going to be it wasn’t really THAT tough. Sure the 300 par 3 is kind of stupid, and there were some tough holes out there, but really this course was scoreable on. If you hit the fairway this place wasn’t that tough. You saw what Tiger did on Saturday by just keeping it in the short hairs. He could have easily shot a cool 64 if he could have gotten a putt to go down. The rough was obviously very tough so all you had to do was keep it out of there. I think some of the problem was that the course was in player’s heads after they got screwed in the rough once. They were too worried about going there again, and just played scared and nervous. The greens are supposedly the toughest in the world, but they were holding everyone’s short iron shots fine from the fairway just like any other venue. Anyway I just don’t like the whining from people. Just stop whining and put the ball in the fairway and make a putt.

So Angel Cabrera is your champion. This guy is definitely a very capable, and good player. Surprising that it is his first PGA tour win in 94 attempts on US soil. We have all seen him play great before, and he has a solid all around game. I have to compare him to the poor man’s John Daly. Or at least the International version of John Daly. He’s got the body shape, and overall likeability to his game. The coolest moment of the whole tournament for me when I think about Angel is after he made a bad bogey on a hole, he then preceded to immediately put his putter in his bag, and take out his driver as fast as possible before he even got to the next hole. He wasn’t worried about some THICK rough, he wasn’t scared of this course. He had confidence that he was going to bomb a drive on the next hole. You know what he did too. Just like he did on Sunday on the 12th, where he hit a peach 397 yards. So he has that likeability about him for a fan to relate to. Also he is a chain somker, and can be seen looking like a chimney on the course. This is of course because of where he comes from, nothing against him at all. Just adds to his likeability I think, because he is an exact opposite of Tiger. Don’t get me wrong I love Tiger, but is nice when someone very different challenges him like Cabrera did.

So Tiger didn’t win it, and people are asking if he lost it. Well look at it this way, he had a bad week and he still finished 2nd in the toughest tournament in the world. So I’m saying no big deal. Other top players had bad weeks and didn’t make the cut. Tiger had a bad week and finished a CLOSE second place. Even had a chance to tie it on the last hole. If he had a chance to win it it was clearly on Saturday. When he shot 69, but really should have shot 64. He hit 17/18 greens in regulation, and couldn’t putt it into Lake Winnepesaukee. So he didn’t lose it on Sunday, Cabrera definitely won it on Sunday, but Tiger missed a huge opportunity on Saturday. Tiger being 0/29 when trying to come back in a major is just one of those weird stats in sports. That you can never really figure out. I guess it is just because he is always winning, and when he isn’t winning he isn’t near the top of his game so it is tough for him to win. But when he has somewhere near his best stuff he is ahead, and not looking back. What he did do was bring the ratings back again on the weekend. He can do that with the best of them. We are watching the best golfer ever, and he is the type that you see once in a lifetime let’s remember. He is one of the athletes that you can watch and actually get chills when he does something great. Like when he pointed that putt in at the PGA in 2000 during the playoff with Bob May, or the chip in at the Masters on 16. The announcers will tell you almost every other shot. They say that’s just insanely long! Or I don’t know how he did that! The best has to have been after he hit a great fairway bunker shot one time and I think David Feherty just exclaimed “Better than most,” “Better than most.” If he brings his C+ game you can count on his taking the British. And that’s the way the cookie crumbles….