All of the focus at the British Open has been on Tiger Woods trying to make his comeback from his recent off-the-course problems, but perhaps that focus should be shifted to a new person: John Daly.
Yes, you read that right: Daly is the name everyone is talking about after Round One at St. Andrews.
Tiger had an impressive Round One performance, with a five-under-par 67. But when he entered the clubhouse, he was looking up at none other than Daly, who bested him with a six-under-par performance, good for a tie for third.
Daly walked onto the course with his usual flamboyance, sporting a pair of crazy purple pants that looked like they had bright green fish swimming on them. The purple complemented his light-blue sweater vest, peach shirt, and turquoise cap quite nicely (in Daly’s eyes, perhaps).
But his statement outfit quickly took a backseat to his scorching first-round score, which equaled the best round of his British Open career. The last time he had a round this low at the British Open was 17 years ago.
And it has been a long and treacherous path for Daly over those past 17 years.
Tiger may be going through a rough time with the media for his off-the-course transgressions over the past few months, but Daly has been battling these demons for years.
He was left for dead after dropping off the PGA Tour exempt list after the 2006 season when he finished 193rd on the money list.
That fall from grace dipped even lower when he was forced to go on the European Tour after a six-month suspension from the PGA.
Most people probably thought Daly was done with golf for good. How could he possibly rebound from that, especially with everything else that he was battling off the course, alcohol and all?
If nothing else, you had to guess that the bombastic Daly would take one last stab at trying to prove his doubters wrong, but I’m sure none of them saw this coming.
No one even remembers his 1995 victory at the British Open, when he beat Costantino Rocca in a playoff, but Daly has a good chance to create some modern British Open history and prove all those doubters wrong (and I’m sure there are many).
The Round One To Slay All Demons?
He has always had the talent, but his personality and off-course problems have created a fair share of obstacles (and doubters) that have deterred that talent.
But here Daly stands with a powerful six-under statement that has him primed to make a run at breaking that 15-year Majors drought and, more importantly, slay those demons and cast aside his doubters.
The crazy thing is that Daly’s score should have been even better than his already impressive six-under.
Four of his putts rolled just off the lip of the cup. After he hit four straight birdies, his putt on No. 12 did a complete circle to avoid going in at all costs.
Those putts could have put him even closer to Rory McIlroy’s incredible nine-under par, but Daly probably still had a huge grin on his face after his head-turning Round One.
There is still a lot of work to be done for Daly to complete his resurrection, but he has certainly started things off with a defiant stomp.