Monday, June 18, 2018

John Daly shoots 90 at PGA Tour Valspar Championship

PALM HARBOR — John Daly has always been a fan favorite because of his ability to relate to the average golfer. On Friday at the Valspar Championship, he even played like an average golfer.

Daly shot 19-over 90 on Innisbrook's Copperhead Course and missed the cut by 19 shots. The two-time major winner had five bogeys, three double bogeys and 8-over 12 on the par-4 16th hole. Coupled with his opening-round 74, Daly was 22 over for his two rounds, last in the tournament.

The 90 is Daly's highest official score in any professional event. He shot 89 in the second round of the 2008 British Open at Royal Birkdale. The 90 also is the highest score in the 14 years of the PGA Tour event at Innisbrook.

"I just played awful," Daly said. "(But) I didn't give up. I tried."

Daly, 47, blamed his bad play on a case of the yips, the nervous tick golfers develop that makes them miss putts badly. He said it started on the back nine of Sunday's final round in the Puerto Rico Open.

He had 37 putts Friday and 70 over two rounds at Innisbrook, including a four-putt on the second hole Friday. Daly said he has never had the yips before and plans on seeking help.

"It's no fun," he said. "I can't stop it.

"It's my head, my hands, and I can't stop it. 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 also said he was treated for plantar fasciitis in his left heel Wednesday, and he was walking with a slight limp toward the parking lot.

"I'm falling apart," he said.

The "highlight" of his round was the 16th hole. Daly hit his drive into the lake that skirts the right side of the fairway. He then hit two 3-woods into the water from the drop area in front of the lake.

He bailed out into the right woods, hit a 7-iron right of the greenside bunker, chipped into the bunker, blasted out over the green, landed his chip within 2 feet and tapped in for 12.

"It really wasn't that bad of a drive," Daly said. "Then I tried to hit two 3-woods over the water and then bailed out left. Shanked a 7-iron from there. Got up and down for a 12. It was a good 12."

That wasn't his highest score ever on a hole. Daly shot 18 on the sixth hole in the 1998 Bay Hill Invitational near Orlando.

Daly, who hasn't won in 10 years and has been playing on sponsor exemptions for the past eight, was not sure where he would play next. He said he was supposed to play in Indonesia in a few weeks for the start of the OneAsia circuit, but the missing Malaysian Airlines flight shook him up.

"I was going to Indonesia, but since they can't find a 777 … " he said, shaking his head as his voice trailed off, "I ain't about to fly on a plane right now. It's a sick feeling. I'd have to go right there. I canceled it. I said, 'No way I'm getting on a plane to fly overseas.' A 777? One of the nicest planes in existence?

"It's scary. There are more important things in life than a round of golf."

Information from the Associated Press and was used in this report.

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Published: 06/13/18