NEW US Champions Tour recruit John Daly will play his first senior major this week in a year that he hopes to grace seven major championships overall.
It will be a tough ask for the newly turned 50 year old who hasn’t had a rigorous golfing schedule in the past few years. But the “Wild Thing” says he is looking forward to the challenge.
Daly will be teeing it up in just his second Champions Tour event this week in what is the first of five senior majors.
First up is the Regions Tradition at the Greystone Golf and Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama.
(Another tour rookie in Craig Parry will also be playing along with veteran fellow Aussie Peter Senior).
Next week it is the Senior PGA Championship at the Harbour Shores Golf Club in Michigan, to be later followed by the Senior Players Championship in Philadelphia, the British Senior Open at Carnoustie in Scotland, then the US Senior Open in Ohio.
Daly’s earlier career was highlighted by his pair of major victories – the 1991 PGA Championship and the British Open at St Andrews – and he is still eligible at those two events going forward.
Daly is also committed to a full Champions Tour schedule so will be getting his wish to have a regular tournament schedule.
It should all be icing on the cake for a golfer whose wild lifestyle had many believing – and betting – that he wouldn’t make the half century mark.
He’s looking forward to it all, particularly a fortnight of British Opens.
“Carnoustie is one of my favorite places to play and I don’t think I ever broke par on it,” Daly said this week. “It’s a great course, a great layout. There are six, seven holes that are hard on my eye. Just a great course, never played really well but always look forward to playing it.
“The cool thing is I’ll be playing the British [Open Championship at Royal Troon] the week before and I’ll have two British Opens in a row.”
“I’m looking forward to it. For me, probably some of the favorite golf that I love to play is links golf, and to have two weeks in a row of it, hey, I’m all for it. I love it.”
As I get older, I’m losing a yard every year
Daly, who finished tied 17th in his first senior event a few weeks ago, only completed in 10 events overall last year, and even less in some of the seven preceding years.
“Hopefully if I get a few rounds under my belt, a few tournaments under my belt, hopefully there will be some signs of some confidence, and hopefully start playing really well,” he said. “I’m just happy to be playing and getting a feel for it. You never know what can happen. The game is not where I want it to be by any means, but I think getting some tournaments under my belt, some competitive rounds, I think it’ll come around.”
Though the years are starting to mount up, “Long John” reckons his driving remains a strong point.
“My driving is probably not far from being the same,” he said. “I’m six, seven yards shorter, maybe. My 3-iron doesn’t go 235, 240. It’s 225, 230. I’m seven, eight yards shorter on the irons. As I get older, I’m losing a yard every year. The biggest is in the long irons. Those upper clubs have changed a lot.”
20 – 22 May
Greystone G&CC, Birmingham, AL, USA
2015 Champion: Jeff Maggert
TV Times: Live coverage begins Friday 3am – 5.30am