John Daly has a new wife, a new life and, it would appear, a revitalised golf career. A nine under par 63 in the first round of the BMW International Open at Golfclub Munchen Nord, Eichenried – with a hole in one thrown in for good measure – confirmed the impression that a more orderly lifestyle has worked wonders for his game.
Daly shares the first round lead with Australian left hander Richard Green after a day of typically low scoring which saw Dean Robertson resurrect his fading Ryder Cup hopes with a 64 to open his account in Munich.
Also in the frame for that biennial ‘contest within a contest’ are Andrew Oldcorn and Sergio Garcia. The former, 13th on the Ryder Cup points list, must overtake Phillip Price, Ian Poulter and Miguel Angel Jiménez to gain automatic inclusion to the European Team. The latter, ranked 19th, must win and hope for his rivals to slip this week. Both shot rounds of 67 to be handily placed, four off the pace.
Of those on the cusp of the team, Price finished with a 71, Poulter a 73 and Jiménez a 67. Robertson, in 23rd place, is the last possible player going down the list who can make the side automatically. His 64 revived the dream.
Meanwhile it was Daly who shot his 64 before 1997 Dubai Desert Classic winner Green got going. Now 35 and married for a third time – he tied the knot with new bride, Sherrie, recently after a seven week courtship – Daly holed in one at the 153 yard 12th hole with a nine iron.
“That got me going” he enthused. “I hit it about a foot and a half behind the hole and it spun back in. That really got my juices going and I can’t remember when I last shot nine under. I did a 63 in Memphis about a month and a half ago but that was eight under. I like my start.”
Daly now prefers to talk about his future rather than his chequered past, although he says he will happily talk about anything. He added: “Everything in my life is very solid. I have a great wife now, I spend a lot of time with my kids and I have people around me who I trust with my life.”
Green acknowledged that he felt the pressure to perform after seeing Daly’s name at the top of the leaderboard with a 63 total posted alongside it. He said: “It’s pretty intimidating when you see somebody nine under so early. It puts the pressure on you to make a good score.
“But at least I don’t have the Ryder Cup pressure. There is a lot of pressure on the (European) guys close to getting in. It’s not bothering me or the other guys who are not eligible.”
Robertson needs a whole set of circumstances to pan out perfectly if he is to make qualify for the side. However he has made a decent fist of the first part of his job, which is to win the tournament and see the lie of the land from there.
“He commented: “I haven’t looked at the Ryder Cup points list for the last month because I haven’t accumulated any points. I don’t pay attention to things that might upset me. You try to compete to win and anything you achieve after that is a byproduct of playing good golf.
“Today was good. A 64 is a good start but the greens are fantastic. There is hardly a blemish on them considering the traffic and that’s a testament to the staff and the club. They are as pure as anything we’ve putted on.”