The Bridgestone Invitational arrives for its yearly visit to Firestone Country Club next week absent two notable players, Tiger Woods and John Daly. The contrast couldn’t be greater. While the absence of Woods, who has turned Firestone into his own personal playground the last several years, will certainly be noticed, the absence of John Daly is mostly a relief.
Daly, who competed at last weekend’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, has become a bloated car wreck of a person and a player. The fact that he’s mostly an afterthought on the PGA Tour is truly addition by subtraction that most players would gladly admit. He’s been a distraction by any measure and about as poor a representative of pro golf as you can imagine. And that was before the video of him playing shirtless at a Branson, Missouri, course made its predictable trek through the Internet.
There always will be a segment of the population that considers Daly a refreshing alternative to the rather staid, almost automaton nature of most pro golfers. More is the pity because all that mentality does is enable Daly to continue to play the doofus unabated and put off such minor matters as maturity and self-discipline for another day. If you think that’s harsh, consider the unfortunate exhibition he put on in Scotland.
A former two time winner of golf’s oldest championship, Daly tied for last place with a robust 29 over par, a mere 20 strokes from making the cut. It was typical of the kind of display you get from Daly. Anytime he senses futility, he simply gives up, which is about the only way to explain his second round score of 89. Conditions were tough, but Daly still had the highest round in the tournament.
Some will say, as Daly has, that he really shouldn’t have been playing because he’s nursing injuries. Maybe. But then again, if he hadn’t played for that reason how would it explain his playing in the Russian Open in Moscow this week for what is undoubtedly a large appearance fee?