Daly Big Draw at Wyndham Championship
There will always be a place in the Wyndham Championship for John Daly. Poor play has cost him his exempt status on the PGA Tour but for the last few years, the Wyndham has granted him a sponsor’s exemption to play at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro.
He was the biggest name among the pros who played in the pro-am Monday sponsored by the foundation of race car driver Kevin Harvick, who lives north of Greensboro.
On the practice tee, Daly dangled a cigarette out of his mouth while smacking a 3-iron far down the range.
He looked liked a different person from the chubby specimen of three or four years ago. He’s almost rail thin and he’s continuing his recent way of wearing outlandish outfits. Monday it was was red, white and blue trousers, with a white painter’s hat on his head. They clashed with the psychedelic colors on his golf bag.
Monday, he was paired with the marquee people of the tournament: Sedgefield owner John McConnell; former Greensboro Mayor Jim Melvin; Bobby Long, chairman of the foundation that puts on the tournament; and Stephen P. Holmes, chairman and CEO of Wyndham Worldwide, that owns many chains of hotels.
Long hugged Daly when he stepped up to the first tee.
“He means a lot (to this) tournament,” Long said. “He’s one of the biggest draws on the tour, and he has friends everywhere.”
The guy sells tickets. People identify with his troubled life. And they love to ooh and ah at his tee shots. Despite being in his 40s, he doesn’t seem to have lost any power. He really didn’t catch all of his ball on the first tee, but it still landed 293 yards away.
He no longer has a John Daly merchandise booth set up as he did at Forest Oaks Country Club, where the tournament was played until four years ago.
“But it’s on line,” he said as he prepared to plant his ball and tee into the ground.
Jim Schlosser is providing coverage from the Wyndham Championship, a PGA Tour event being held in Greensboro this week.
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