The Open: Catwalk for Daly in lucky trousers
Two years after crashing out of The Open at Royal Birkdale with rounds of 80 and 89, John Daly lit up St Andrews yesterday with more than just his trousers.
Back at the scene of his 1995 victory, Daly was an incredible seven under par after only 11 holes and threatened to eclipse even Rory McIlroy.
In the end it was a round of 66 for the 44-year-old American, but that still equalled his lowest-scoring round in the event.
It is six years since Daly won a tournament, he does not have a full US tour card any more and he is 455th in the world.
He is also almost half the man he was following gastric band surgery last year that has brought his weight down from well over 20 stones to less than 14.
His collection of “Loudmouth” trousers have kept him in the news, though, and he showed he could still play with an opening 67 at Loch Lomond last week wearing the same pair he chose for yesterday.
“This is a special place — I fell in love with it in ’94 in the Dunhill Cup when me and Payne Stewart and Freddie (Couples) won,” he said.
“It’s just a great course and it just suits my game. It’s my favourite course all over the world that I’ve ever played.
“When you’ve got that going for you you don’t feel disappointed when you don’t play so well, but you feel even better when you do.
“I’ve learned a lot. I have never run from my mistakes. I’ve always been honest with everybody around me. It’s how you come back, I think, and I’m on a comeback.
“I’ve been hurt for a good three-and-a-half years. It makes it very tough to get your confidence up when you’re working around injuries.
“There’s just something peaceful about this place. I remember when I came here in ’95 I was playing horrible golf.
“I think I had come off missing a few cuts and didn’t know what to expect, but I knew how much I loved this place.
“It’s one of those places that you either just absolutely love or you absolutely hate.”
On his weight he added: “It’s amazing what it’s done for me and what it’s done for my daughter — she’s probably lost 100 pounds since (last) July.
“I haven’t had a drink since I had the band put in. Beer won’t go down.”