January 22, 2018
Friday, May 12, 2017

John Daly freshens up interest in Champions Tour

John Daly celebrates his first Tour winner cheque since 2004.
John Daly celebrates his first Tour winner cheque since 2004.
John Daly celebrates his first Tour winner cheque since 2004.
By David Mackintosh / Golfing Traveller

PGA gets a boost as Trump-backed star secures win

Just when it was most needed, the PGA Tour Champions got a huge boost when John Daly broke into the winner’s circle at the Insperity.

Much as there’s been a fascination to see how long Bernhard Langer, 59, can continue his domination of the over-50s league, let’s face it, there’s no substitute for a bright blazing star. And as much as Langer is formal, subdued and always correct, the self-styled “Wild Thing” who coined “grip-it-and-rip-it” definitely is not.

Yet before the ink was dry on Daly’s first Tour winner cheque since 2004, none other than US President Donald Trump was on his Twitter account, congratulating the 51-year-old, who claimed his first seniors victory exactly a year after his Champions debut.

With the next two events carrying major status, what better time for a new Champions favourite to emerge. Notably the end-of-month Senior PGA Championship will be played at Trump National Golf Club, Washington DC. If Daly wins there, expect a special surprise ceremony.

For the longest time Arnold Palmer was a spokesman for Insperity, and to honour The King the multi-coloured umbrella ever associated with golf’s greatest showman was everywhere, including the 18th fairway. When Daly walked up and kissed that umbrella-shaded grass, he proved yet again why he truly is the People’s Champion.

Until Daly’s breakthrough much of the Champions slack has been taken up recently by the old-timers, first getting their rust off at the Legends and subsequently as part of 12-man, four-team “Greats of Golf” Insperity scramble, spearheaded by Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Lee Trevino. Those three held a lively pre-game press conference where some never-heard-before stories emerged. Take a break, kick back and enjoy.

Player recalled Sam Snead played Bobby Locke in South Africa and had lost eighteen matches and won just twice, so Snead tells the guys: “When this man comes from South Africa, although most of you have never heard of him, you back him.”

“So he arrives and I’m walking around with Locke, because he was our big guy in South Africa, and up comes Lloyd Mangrum who says, ‘Hello, Muffin Face.’ He had a very fat face and Locke’s laughing. And then Mangrum says, ‘They tell me how good you are. Would you like to have your Cadillac against my Cadillac?’

“Man, imagine a young guy like me, I don’t have five cents to rub together, and here a guy wants to bet a Cadillac. So Locke says, ‘I’ll have a Cadillac against yours.’

And I think Locke beat him by 15 shots. And he came and gave him the keys and Locke took the keys and rattled them and he says, ‘Thank God I beat him, because I don’t own a Cadillac.’ He didn’t have a Cadillac to bet, but he was quite happy for beating him.”

Trevino recalled the first time he met Arnold Palmer was being congratulated by him on winning the US Open.

“He had played in the last group because television was just starting to come into golf. And remember, the USGA wanted Arnie to play in the last group. I think he had missed the cut or just barely made the cut, and Arnie didn’t want to do it and they teamed him with Jack Lewis and he played behind (Bert) Yancey and I.”

Nicklaus: “I played in front of you, didn’t I?”

Trevino: “Yes, two groups in front of me.”

Nicklaus: “I was going to say, I played just in front of you. Every time I turned around, all you did was hole another damn putt!”

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Edition No. 5055 - This publication is a property of NEFIR S.A. -RNPI Nº 5343955 - Issn 1852 - 9224 - Te. 4349-1500 - San Juan 141 , (C1063ACY) CABA - Director Perdiodístico: Ricardo Daloia