Getting to know John Daly, better

John Daly gets his fair share of bad press. Most recently his drinking has come to the lime light again. Nobody is naïve to the fact Daly had a drinking problem. Unfortunately due to being the character he is on the course, his life off the course has always been heavily documented, his successes unfortunately being overshadowed by his downfalls.

Daly joined the PGA tour in 1991 and quickly became one of the most intriguing figures on tour. He was known for his explosive personality, his rough and tumble personal life, and of course how far he hit the golf ball. ESPN have made a short film about Daly’s life as part of their ‘30 for 30’ series. The short documentary is aptly titled ‘Hit it Hard’ and will debut on November 1st. ESPN have been releasing small tasters to wet our appetite for this most anticipated short film.

The most recent clip shows a candid Daly admitting he drank during a PGA tour event. As much as this comes as no surprise to most people, we are hoping this short film is more about his triumphs than the addictive battle he faced during his career. Of course this is something that made John Daly who he was but there is way more to the colourful trouser wearing, long hitter.

Unfortunately, the good stories about John don’t generate the same amount of interest because everybody wants the gory details of his alcohol abuse, gambling and broken marriages. Deep down, party boy Daly has a heart of gold. In 1991 Daly punched his ticket into the PGA championship due to nine players withdrawing from the event, giving him the opportunity of a lifetime.

Before his win at the PGA championship he had missed 11 cuts in 23 starts. He was a complete unknown when he tee’d it up in the first round but that was all about to change. Daly’s long hitting was second to none that week and he holed everything.  His week at Crooked Stick was a Cinderella story that everyone embraced and followed until the very end when he was the man holding the trophy.

Earlier that week a storm had wreaked havoc at Crooked Stick and had unfortunately taken the life of one of the volunteers, when he was struck by lightning. The volunteer left two young girls and a wife. When John was presented the Wannamaker trophy he said he was going to give $30,000 to a scholarship fund for the two young girls that had lost their father that week.

ESPN will not have struggled for material when creating this documentary. He was an instant sensation after his PGA championship win. Everybody bought into his humble beginnings in Arkansas and his fiery attitude on and off the course. He was followed for his extraordinary length off the tee and mostly known for his gambling and his 4 failed marriages.  John also went on to win a second major at The Open in 1995.

Just like every other golf fan we cannot wait to see this heavily anticipated ’30 for 30’ about the golfing hero, John Daly.

By Rachael McQueen, Community Engagement Executive at Shot Scope

True Test at Troon

The Open, the oldest major in golf, is set to be held at Royal Troon this week. The championship length is 7,190 yards and is a par 71. The course is host to deceivingly tight fairways, wispy long grass, gorse and tricky pot hole bunkers.

Most people describe Royal Troon as a game of two halves. The front nine gives the impression it is wide open with its lack of trees or gorse but the fairways are lined with tall wispy rough and perfectly placed bunkers to collect any off line tee shot. The back nine on the other hand has more gorse lined fairways especially in the loop 9th, 10th 11th and 12th. There are less bunkers on the back nine 36 bunkers to be exact, versus the 60 bunkers that defend the front nine.

Royal Troon’s most famous hole is the par 3 Postage Stamp. It is the shortest hole in championship golf at a mere 123 yards, but don’t let its length fool you. The tee box is raised above the green making it very open to the elements. If the wind is coming straight off the Firth of Clyde the hole suddenly becomes longer. You have to carry your shot over a grassy gully onto a long but very narrow green. The green is surrounded by five bunkers, one that is rightfully named the Coffin bunker due to its deep but narrow characteristics. This short hole is not a guaranteed par and has seen a few high scores in its Open championship history. In 1997 a young 21-year-old Tiger Woods walked off the 8th green with a triple bogey six after finding a bunker with his tee shot.

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Potential of a Tiger Spotting at Troon

Tiger Woods was centre stage this past week at Congressional, but not as a competitor. He was on official hosting duties at the Quicken Loans National tournament that benefits his foundation. While there he took part in press conferences which quickly turned into an opportunity for the media to ask the question we’ve all been pondering for months: “When will he be returning to competitive golf?”

The 14-time major Champion hasn’t played a tournament since the Wyndham Championship last August and, after two back surgeries, the timescale for his return is still uncertain. He has been spotted hitting shots and playing rounds but explains that it is the physical demands of playing consecutive rounds is what is holding him back.

Woods entered both the Maters and U.S. Open, but much to the fans disappointment, he pulled out of both shortly afterwards citing he wasn’t physically ready yet. Even though The R&A has announced that Tiger Woods has entered to play in The Open Championship at Royal Troon, we’re not holding our breath just yet…

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Does Golf Have a Future in The Olympics

Ever since Rory’s announcement that he will not be playing in the Rio Olympics, there has been a growing concern that other influential players will now follow suit. The World No.4 is definitely the highest profile player that has been added to the list of players that are opting out on this year’s games. The list seems to be growing creating a growing concern for golf continuing in the Olympics.

The players that have pulled out have cited that it was due to the risk of the Zika virus, a virus that is known to cause birth defects and currently has no cure. The men’s tournament is planned to take place on August 11th to the 14th with the women’s tournament taking place the following week. This comes at the busiest time during the PGA season, and as much it is a huge honour to play for their country there is no money involved for the players.

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The Golfers on The Shot Scope Team With Their U.S. Open Predictions:

David Hunter
Winner – Jason Day
He knows how to win majors and in recent press conferences has said that he realishs the challenge of Oakmont. He has played in 22 majors in his career and finished in the top 10 eleven times. With 1 major already under his belt has only made him hungry for more.

Wildcard – Paul Casey
Casey is coming back into form has shot up the rankings. He showed form at The Masters finishing T-4 and has played well at Oakmont before. He is 22nd in greens in regulation and can hold putts when is counts.

Gavin Dear
Winner – Brooks Koepka
He is long, straight and is currently ranked 37th in stokes gained: Putting. With his distance, accuracy and if the putters hot, it should be a very good week for Kopeka. He is the best golfer I have played with as a pro and I think he will be the next big thing in golf.

Wildcard – Russell Knox
He is currently 4th in the FedEx Cup Rankings, is very straight and great from tee to green. He sits 4th in greens in regulation on the PGA tour and has already proved he can be a winner after his win at the WGC-HSBC Champions

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The Best Golfers in The World vs Oakmont Country Club

I’m sure you have been reading about the tough test that faces the players at the 2016 U.S. Open but really how hard is Oakmont CC?

Oakmont CC is ranked 11th on Golf Digests ‘The World’s 100 greatest courses’ list and is ranked 5th in Golf Digests ‘Top 50 Hardest courses in America’. In the run up to the 2007 U.S. Open the course went under various renovations. It was lengthened, bunkers became deeper and 4,000 trees were removed from the course.

The U.S Open yardage has been lengthened to 7,230 yards. This includes the two par 5’s which reach over 600 yards, especially the monster 12th which has a total distance of 667 yards. There are five par 4’s over 470 yards (1st,7th,9th,15th & 18th), and of course the 8th, the longest par 3 in U.S. Open history at a whopping 288 yards.

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Young Guns Taking Poll Position on The LPGA

Over the weekend Brooke Henderson became the KPMG Women’s PGA champion. At just the young age of 18 she joined Lydia Ko on becoming the youngest to ever win the tournament. She beat World No.1 Ko in a sudden death play-off to capture her first major victory at Sahalee CC in Sammamish, Washington.

Having young inspiring females winning and showing form at the highest stage of the game, will surely encourage growth of the game. The current top ten in the women’s game are all under the age of 30 and the top 8 are all under 25. The women’s game is showcasing a large amount of very young talent, and it is making for more exciting golf.

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Rory Returns to Major Winning Putting Grip

A lot of people were questioning the young Irish player’s decision on returning to a conventional putting grip but after his performance last week at Memorial it seems to have been the correct decision. This past week at Muirfield Village, Rory McIIlroy returned his best 4 round average for strokes gained putting in his career. The 1.826 SGP average helped him finish T-4th at The Memorial Tournament and he finished 3rd for strokes gained putting in the field that week.

The four-time major winner hasn’t exactly had misfortune with putting left-hand-low this season and that is why making this change so close to the second major of the year is questionable. Rory started putting left-hand-low after a missed cut at the Honda Classic and since then has finished T-3, T-27, 4, T-10, T-4, T-12 and importantly also won the Irish Open with the unconventional grip. All fantastic results and so far seems to be having a very strong 2016 season. So why the change?

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