Golf: Daly still swinging
John Daly, PGA European Tour star?
The two-time major champion told The Associated Press on Thursday that he’s considering all of his options for 2009, including playing regularly on the European tour.
“I know in Europe there are still a million opportunities to play,” Daly said. “It’s a great tour. Guys on that tour have shown themselves and proved themselves to be great players.”
Daly’s play, however, has been far from great.
The 42-year-old Daly has made just five cuts in 16 events this year, bringing in just $56,017. His best finish was a tie for 40th at the Viking Classic and he plummeted to No. 737 in the world ranking. He hasn’t had a top 10 in three years and his erratic behavior has cost him some of the support that made him one of the sport’s most popular players.
Daly blames some of his struggles on a mysterious rib injury that forced him to shorten his iconic swing and rendered one of the tour’s biggest hitters punchless.
“I saw guys hitting it by me that never hit it by me before,” said Daly, 16th in driving distance this year. “I was like, ‘there’s definitely something wrong here.”‘
Daly had surgery over the summer to deal with a cyst the size of a golf ball in his ribs. He says doctors found two small fractures deep in the rib that prevented him from gripping it and ripping it.
He’s feeling better, but the recovery process has been slow. Yet he says he still has the itch to play.
“It was so long when I was hurt, shooting 71s to 75s and it was a matter of just one hole,” he said. “Now I feel like it’s all starting to come together. I’d love to play four or five weeks in a row like I used to do. I can’t do that because I’m not exempt.”
Even as he approaches his mid-40s he admits he’s still hardly in peak physical condition. He’ll never be a workout fiend.
And he’s still playing golf, but doing it the Daly way. He spent last week in Missouri hosting a celebrity golf benefit, and is scheduled to make an appearance in Bowling Green, Ky., later this month at a charity golf tournament hosted by country musician Steve Azar.
After that he’ll probably head to Australia or Asia and try to hone his game before the 2009 season begins. If there’s a tee and an invitation, he’ll take it.
“I’ve always got a place to play,” he said. “That’s what I need to do is play.”