For more than 20 years, John Daly has been one of the most entertaining golfers on the PGA Tour. Between his colorful, bold appearance and his “grip it and rip it” style, fans all over the world love following the blond bomber.
Unfortunately, as happens to many players as they get older, things haven’t been going so well for Daly in recent years. In 2013, he missed six cuts in just 12 starts, and his best finish was a tie for 50th at the Puerto Rico Open. He contended a handful of times in 2012, with three finishes in the top-25, but really, his appearances on Tour have mostly been fun for two or three days before they’re over.
Daly doesn’t have many problems getting sponsor exemptions; he’s been playing on exemptions and past champion status for the last eight years. But even though he’s struggled to compete at the elite level, things reached a new low on Friday at the 2014 Valspar Championship, as he shot an even 90.
It was one of the worst rounds of Daly’s career, and it’s clear something’s gotten in his head. To his credit, Daly recognizes that he’s dealing with one of the worst things that can happen to a golfer: the dreaded yips.
The highlight – or lowlight, really – of Daly’s round was his 12 on the par-4 16th, where he hit three balls in the water and struggled to even approach the green. Still, when he reached it, he one-putted. The same couldn’t be said for many of the other holes he played.
“It’s my head, my hands, and I can’t stop it,” Daly told the Associated Press. “On a short stroke, I get quick. On my normal, long stroke, I come up. Even my legs are moving. I should just go put myself in a straitjacket and try that. I’ve always been a quick putter, so I should never get the yips. But I got ’em. I got ’em bad.”
Daly has always had a volatile style on the course, but when you completely lose control of your golf swing, it can be the next best thing to impossible to get it back. When David Duval battled injury and mental struggles years ago, he was never the same again.
Hopefully, even if it takes a while, we get to see Daly come back to golf if only for a little while. He’s been too fun to watch for this to be the way he goes out.