PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS INSIDER
Daly could play seven majors in next 15 weeks
May 18, 2016
By Vartan Kupelian, PGATOUR.COM
- May 18, 2016
- John Daly will be playing in his first PGA TOUR Champions major this week at the Regions Tradition. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
John Daly is about to get his wish for a bulked-up work load.
Daly is in a select group of PGA TOUR Champions golfers who have the opportunity to play in seven majors this year.
The stretch begins this week with the Regions Tradition, the first of five majors on PGA TOUR Champions. Daly, a past winner of The Open Championship and PGA Championship, is also eligible to play in those event.
That’s seven major championships during the next 15 weeks. Plus, he’s committing to a full schedule on PGA TOUR Champions. It will go a long way toward curing Daly’s seven-year itch. That’s how long it’s been since Daly has had any sort of regular playing schedule on a major tour and, frankly, he can’t wait.
Daly will tee it up for the second time on PGA TOUR Champions Tour at the Regions Tradition this week, the first of back-to-back major championships with the Senior PGA Championship next week.
All the major activity will suit Daly, whose career on the PGA TOUR was highlighted by a pair of major championship victories. His first win came in a major - at the 1991 PGA Championship where, as an alternate, he produced a victory that continues to resonate. Four years later, Daly won the Claret Jug on the Old Course at St. Andrews. It was the fourth of his five wins on the PGA TOUR.
The Regions Tradition moves from Shoal Creek to Greystone Golf and Country Club. Next week it’s Harbor Shores Golf Club, a Jack Nicklaus design, for the Senior PGA Championship. Neither is exceptionally long unless more rain in Alabama and, later, in Michigan elongates the test.
Among the challenges Daly will face on PGA TOUR Champions is a new roll call of courses. Many of them he has never seen before. But there’s a flip side: He loves those that he’s familiar with.
“Some of the golf courses I’ve probably played before,” Daly said. “Some will be new to me. I’ll be testing the waters finding places that suit my game and stuff.
“There aren’t a lot on the PGA TOUR Champions that I’ve played before. I’ll play as many as I possibly can to get used to (the conditions).”
Daly made his debut three weeks ago at the Insperity Invitational at The Woodlands where he tied for 17th. Among the places he can’t wait to get back to is En-Joie Golf Club in Endicott, New York. The Dick’s Sporting Goods Open is July 8-10.
“It’s a great course for me,” Daly said. “I remember some people telling me, ‘What are you going to Endicott for? It’s way too tight for you.’ I’ve had great success there.”
Daly shot 14 under to win the B.C. Open by six strokes in 1992.
The Senior British will be played at Carnoustie from July 21-24. It is one that Daly is looking forward to with great anticipation.
“Carnoustie is one of my favorite places to play and I don’t think I ever broke par on it,” he said. “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 the week before and I’ll have two British Opens in a row.”
As a past champion of The Open Championship, Daly is exempt into that tournament. It will be at Royal Troon, where Daly missed the cut in 2004, just as he did in 2007 at Carnoustie.
“I'm looking forward to it,” Daly said. “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.”
In 1999, Daly played in only nine PGA TOUR events, his lowest total since 1991. Last year, he played in 10 events. As a result, Daly is allowing himself adequate time to get comfortable with all things about PGA TOUR Champions and the return to a full schedule.
“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.”
Daly’s driving remains a strength of his game. He’s still long.
“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.”
Daly’s drives off the course will be substantial, too.
“Trying to make sure I can meet the criteria the PGA TOUR Champions wants me to meet because I'm going to be driving my bus and want to make sure I don't miss any pro-ams and stuff like that,” he said. “It's going to be a lot of golf, which I've been anxiously waiting to play.”
John Daly debuts and Mike Goodes leads at Insperity Invitational