Today I jumped behind the ropes and followed the mighty John Daly, paired with Bradley Dredge and Robert Allenby. I thought I had best catch him today just in case he missed the cut. After dropping eight shots on the back nine yesterday that was entirely possible.
By the time I joined him halfway down the 11th his game was beginning to spiral into dispair. Lumbering up the fairway like a bear with toothache his shoulders were hunched, his big blue eyes staring at the ground. Daily took an iron, the ball hit the edge of the green then rolled into the bunker. It was going to be one of those days. Again. Would I even catch a glimpse of one of his monster drives?
The Bunker Raker commentated that he?d been in more bunkers today than Churchill. The lady scorer looked bored. ?It?s like watching amateur golf,? she said, shaking her head. Moving onto the 12th Daly outdrove his opponents without plunging into the wispy rough or a sandtrap. On the 13th it was a case of another hole another bunker. Without a second thought he dived in and recovered to within 10 feet of the green.
A couple of lads waved a poster that said ?we love you John? and shouted something encouraging. He barely glanced their way.
By the 14th Daly was crumbling. The wind funnelled straight down the fairway cutting through you like a knife. His caddy looked even more fed up, no doubt thinking of the miserly cheque he was no doubt going to receive. He snapped at the marshals to control the noise in the stand. Daly looked oblivious and slapped one down the middle. The crowd roared.
On the 15th he nailed a 30 foot putt to within a few inches, sunk the putt then tossed the ball to a little girl in the crowd who stared at it with disbelief. She probably didn?t know who the previous Open champion was.
The next hole, the lengthy 248 yard par 3, he pulled out an iron in defiance of his playing partners woods to land miraculously on the green, missing the birdie putt by a few inches.
Finally a glimpse of the Daly inspiration was beginning to shine through like the sun above. Using his driver he wacked the ball to an incredulous 60 feet short of the green. That?s almost 400 yards and 150 yards ahead of Allenby and Dredge who had played it safe with an iron. The crowds were jumping up and down and I started coming out of the boredom induced coma that had affected me for the past few holes. Daly’s game was starting to come together but it?s too little too late. After a celebratory cigarette the last is finally over and he slopes off looking somewhat relieved that he?s off home.