PGA Championship 2012: John Daly Won't Sustain Strong Start at Ocean Course

Andrew Gould@AndrewGould4Featured ColumnistAugust 10, 2012

KIAWAH ISLAND, SC - AUGUST 09:  John Daly of the United States hits off the sixth tee during Round One of the 94th PGA Championship at the Ocean Course on August 9, 2012 in Kiawah Island, South Carolina.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

John Daly came out swinging to start the PGA Championship, but don't expect the hot start to last.

During Thursday's opening day of action, Daly scored a 68 to land four-under-par after the first round. The 46-year-old enters Friday as part of a four-way tie for fourth place, only two strokes behind Carl Pettersson for the lead.

An eagle on the 11th hole sparked an impressive outing from Daly at Kiawah Island, but despite Daly's inspiring start, the eccentric golfer cannot be trusted to stay near the top of the leaderboard for long.

The aging golfer has not won a major since 1995, when he surprised quite a few people by capturing the British Open. In the past 12 years, Daly has only cracked the final cut in 14 of 34 events. 

Even after a terrific day, Daly did not earn a significant edge over the playing field. Daly was one of 42 competitors to play at par or better. A rough stretch on Friday could still send him packing before the weekend.

Daly has been prone to wild swings of productivity throughout his career, and that was during his prime. Now, he struggles to stay relevant in the PGA landscape.

After Tiger Woods, Daly has become one of the sport's more interesting men to track. Likely the closest we'll ever get to a real-life Happy Gilmore, Daly does not exactly talk or act like a typical golfer.

Give Daly credit for at least acknowledging his shortcomings. He admits his inconsistent nature, which he believes has become a rallying cry among his supporters (via Bill Pennington of The New York Times).

“But that’s what draws people to me and my golf game,” he said. “It is up and down. So is my life. Everybody’s life is up and down. It’s how we battle to get through it, and people relate to that.”

His past issues with alcohol and gambling turned him into a sympathetic figure whose triumph would signal a rousing redemption story. The sporting world loves to watch athletes return from despair to spin a happy ending.

Don't expect too satisfying of a conclusion though. Even Daly seems to know that he is more than capable of falling downhill.