John Daly’s come-out-of-nowhere blistering six-under par 66 in Round One at the British Open is a made-for-TV storyline.
Just lurking in his shadow is Tiger Woods, only one stroke behind Daly.
So, it raises one interesting possibility: What if two of golf’s most embattled players square off for an epic duel over the course of the weekend? What could be better for the sport?
Tiger has gotten all of the recent negative attention for his off-the-course transgressions, but his recent battle has nothing on Daly’s 15-year struggle to return to golf’s peak. That was the last time he took home a Major, also the British Open.
His attempt to end that 15-year drought is quite the storyline itself because Daly has been left for dead after losing his exempt status and receiving a suspension from the PGA Tour. Now, just picture that storyline if he were competing for that elusive crown against the game’s fallen king, Tiger.
It is exactly the showdown that golf has been craving since Tiger’s fall from grace, leaving a void of major storylines recently (other than what Tiger has done off the course.)
You may scoff at the idea, but both of these guys have brought their A-games to St. Andrews to start the Open Championship off right.
Daly should probably be even closer to leader Rory McIlroy (nine-under), but he had a few unlucky rolls on several key putts.
And Tiger is slowly regaining his form after his vintage round at the U.S. Open that had everybody believing the “old” Tiger was back. He wasn’t then, but this might be the weekend he takes that leap.
Tiger is simply looking to regain the dominance that has seemed to come so easily to him. He has never battled such conditions in his career, so it is definitely intriguing to see him attempt to overcome this huge mental hurdle.
On the flip side, you have Daly, who always had all the tools to be one of golf’s best, but he was never able to win that battle off the course. Dominance has never been a term associated with him that doesn’t involve a bottle of booze.
They are two talented golfers coming from separate directions, but they have positioned themselves nicely to engage in one of the more intriguing showdowns in recent golf memory.
There is still a lot of golf to be played, and the weather has yet to bring St. Andrews to its potentially treacherous form.
It is also presumptuous to count out the leader, McIlroy, and Louis Oosthuizen (seven-under), but Daly and Woods are the two golfers many onlookers will be keeping their eyes on. They are the two that will put people in the seats if they are left standing at the end.
There would be no better battle than seeing two of golf’s more naturally talented players square off for the trophy at the end of the weekend. They would be battling to slay their demons and quiet their critics. Daly vs. Woods would be a heavyweight fight that is dreamed of so often in golf but doesn’t happen often enough.