July 15, 2010
When the 1995 British Open champion was introduced on the first tee on Thursday, Old Tom Morris was probably rolling in his grave. Floral-print pants? Turquoise hat?! Yellow grips?!? Was this guy here for the Open or some sort of outdoor fashion show?
That was probably the last time Morris would be questioning John Daly's place on this golf course. A birdie on the first and then a birdie on the second in what could best be considered as super scoring conditions at St. Andrews had Big John off to a great start. But that was only the beginning.
[Photos: See John Daly in his wild floral pants]
Before most people were awake on this side of the pond, Daly had carded seven birdies in 11 holes. He would par the next five holes, hitting the lip three times with putts all from good spots on the green. If anything, Daly was standing on the 17th tee frustrated with his round, not happy he was three strokes away from tying the course record. A pounded drive from the new tee on the Road Hole left John in the best position of the day on 17, but he couldn't take advantage, making his lone bogey.
A good drive on the 18th ended in a downhill lie, leaving Daly with the Texas wedge from well in front of the green, but he swapped the putt up the Valley of Sin, and had a 12-footer for birdie and a 65. When he struck it, Colin Montgomerie, who was sitting in the ESPN booth, said "Well done," as the putt looked to be breaking in, but Daly hit another lip, looked away in disgust, and had to "settle" for a 66. Still, Daly sits near the top of the leaderboard at a British Open.
The weather was the big story before the tournament began, with winds so strong on Wednesday that an exhibition on the Old was canceled. There was hardly a breath for the morning groups on Thursday, and it seemed just about everyone out there was taking advantage.
It's interesting how Daly's opening round might have turned out. Back in '95, when he won at this very course, John opened with a 67, only to have the conditions worsen for the rest of the week. The forecast calls for something similiar over the next few days, so maybe a good start and then having the ability to just hang around will be good for the 44-year-old Daly.
Our only hope here? That Daly's rain gear has a floral pattern.
More Yahoo! coverage of the British Open:
• Stewart Cink's tweet-covered bag brings Twitter to St. Andrews
• Tiger Woods posts his best round of the year
• McIlroy's opening-round ties a record for a major