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John Daly to cross the Atlantic for more regular action

By James Corrigan

John Daly has informed officials he plans to base himself on the European Tour this year. The 45-year-old believes he is not playing regularly enough in America and is to switch his focus across the Atlantic.

Yesterday at the Qatar Masters, the world No 543 showed he is capable of launching a comeback with a first-round 67 which left him in second, one off the lead of Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.

"I shocked myself today," said Daly. "I've had five-and-a-half weeks off and didn't touch a club. Yet that was one of the best rounds I've played in a wind like that. You feel like you are eating sand – it was brutal."

The two-time major winner remains a big draw and the European Tour will, in most respects, be delighted with his presence. Yet despite cleaning up his lifestyle, Daly's discipline remains a concern. However, in a recent meeting he assured the powers-that-be there will be no repeat of the farce at the Australian Open last November when he stormed off the course mid-round, claiming he had run out of balls.

Last month Daly explained to The Independent why he was considering decamping. "The problem with my golf is I get starts in quite a few tournaments in the States, but there's too far a gap between them," he said. "The only way I can get confidence is if I can play week in, week out."

Daly's round of five-under was bogey-free and was four better than that of Lee Westwood. The world No 3 was satisfied with his 71, and said: "Not bad since I was sandblasted," but was annoyed with how long it took. "The pace of play was a disgrace," wrote Westwood on Twitter. "We are pros, we are supposed to know what we are doing."

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