Golf Monthly grabbed five minutes with 1995 Open champ and fans’ favourite, John Daly, as he put the finishing touches to his preparation at Hoylake. By Alex Narey
So John, you missed last year’s Open because of an elbow injury, so how’s the body doing now?
It ok, I’m getting through it. The elbow surgery is all good but I have had to have a shot in my knee, and I wear a brace on it now. I have a hole in my cartilage the size of a dime, and my knee has been popping. The brace stops it from doing that; maybe at the end of the season I will get it sorted out.
The game looks in pretty good shape though…
Yeah, it’s getting there. I’ve been making a few cuts, but I just haven’t been playing well on Saturday. Saturday is the moving day, but it has been the bad day for me. Right now I’m just trying to figure out what to hit off these tees. It’s tough!
Not ready to go with the driver then?
It’s tough from the tee. I haven’t hit a 1-iron in about eight or nine years, but I put a 1-iron in the bag, so I’m trying to get used to that.
What about your old Wilson driving iron that you always used to hit?
That’s framed! I had a 1-iron pretty much all the way through the nineties. Then hybrids came out and I tried to hit those, but I just kept hooking them. You just gotta keep the ball in play man!
When did you arrive over here?
We got in Friday, and we went to St Andrews and played the Dukes course, so I can’t blame anything on jet lag this week…
Nice to be back in St Andrews where you won in 1995?
Well I didn’t get to play the course, but we played the Dukes, which is beautiful too. It’s just a cool place.
What are your memories of 2006, the last time the Open came here?
It was totally different; very dry and there wasn’t a lot of rough.
It was blisteringly hot then, but the weather looks a bit up and down this week. Do you enjoy playing in the wind?
I don’t mind it. But every player would say they hate rain and wind because that just makes it tough for everybody.
What are your early thoughts on the course and the set-up?
Well, I love all links golf courses; they are all special. But if I’m being honest, the course isn’t really for me. Don’t get me wrong, I have so much respect for it, but it is very tough off the tee. It’s going to be survival week for me I think. But I take the good with the bad, and I love links courses. Some courses suit you and some don’t. But this is the type of course where you can hit some great shots and get some really bad breaks. Mind you, you can hit some really bad shots and get some good breaks, so it works both ways!