With golf’s silly season in full swing on the other side of the world, where Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are prepping for a meaningless, pad-your-bank-account showdown on Wednesday, workaday stiffs like John Daly are still chasing their PGA Tour cards back here in the U.S. of A.
Daly, who really, really wants to secure home-field playing privileges for 2013, blew (as only JD can) a great chance to advance into the money list’s all-important top 125 when he followed a spectacular 63 with an equally astonishing 86 in his very next round at last week’s Las Vegas event. Indeed, bouncing from a second-round tie for eighth to a DFL finish at the JT Shriners Hospitals for Children Open pretty much encapsulated Daly’s up-and-down career, which includes two major championships as well as some fantastic flameouts.
While surfing from one extreme to the other may make others seasick, Long John acknowledged his most recent histrionics with a self-deprecating nod to his Jekyll and Hyde performance.
“Just one of those days,” said Daly, who jokingly wondered aloud, after hacking his way around the TPC Summerlin track on Saturday, if he could get his amateur status back.
Daly will have another chance -- thanks to one more sponsor’s exemption -- to move up the money list at this week’s Frys.com Open.
Speaking of silliness -- in addition to the $5.2 million (plus assorted appearance fees) World Golf Final organizers put up to attract Nos. 1 and 2 and six of their best friends to Turkey for an unsanctioned money grab -- anyone else wonder if McIlroy reset his Audemars Piguet to Turkish time, or will the PGA champ require a police escort from Turkey’s finest to make it to the Antalya Golf Club in Belek on time?
No way, McIlroy, who was on-site with girlfriend, tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, averred. He may not have looked at his golf clubs since helping his European Ryder Cup team break the hearts of Woods and the other Americans (and his scorecard, with a triple bogey and two doubles down the stretch, certainly proved the rust), but the 23-year-old assured onlookers there would be no additional clock snafu.
“I will make sure I am in the right time zone,” he said.
Despite an on-time arrival, McIlroy joined Woods in the losers’ bracket after their opening matches in the inaugural Turkey trot to the bank. The setbacks -- Tiger by one stroke to Charl Schwartzel and Rory Mac by six to Matt Kuchar -- may have Turkish Airlines moneybags wondering about the round-robin, medal-match play format that made it imperative for the two to win both of their matches on Wednesday if they hoped to play on.
No matter the results, the friendly rivals were looking forward to rekindling their inside-the-ropes flirtation on Wednesday afternoon.
“We’re the two highest ranked players in the world right now and it will be a fun match either way,” Woods said on Tuesday, “but it will obviously be a lot better if we both win in the morning.”
McIlroy concurred with the 14-time major champion.
"It's something I am looking forward to," McIlroy said at the start of the contest. "Tiger has been a hero of mine growing up so to compete against him is a dream come true. This will be the first match we have had head-to-head and it's a match I would really like to win."