How'd Daly make 13? 'I two-putted'
SILVIS, Ill. -- It wasn't quite Seve Ballestero's explanation of a four-putt ("I miss, I miss, I miss, I make."), but John Daly's short answer to how he made a 13 on the par-4 fourth hole at TPC Deere run during the second round of the John Deere Classic came close. "I two-putted," deadpanned Daly after the round.
Daly sent his tee shot on the 454-yard hole ("a heel shank," he called it) into the tall grass right of the fairway where the ball was found by a spectator. Then the adventure began.
"I was hoping we wouldn't find it," said Daly, who had hit a provisional. "It's just brutal over there. I hit it on the worst spot on the golf course. I was basically screwed. The ball just went a foot every time I hit it. I hit it a couple times, then took an unplayable, couldn't get it out. Hit it again, took an unplayable, couldn't get it out. Then I got it far enough left that I could drop it. Then put it in the bunker, got it out and two-putted for a 13."
How confusing was Daly's 13? At first it was reported by him as an 18, then changed by the tour to an 11 before the final tally was settled upon in the scorer's hut. "I just lost track there for a while," said Daly. "But Peter (caddie Peter Van Riet) was counting and he said he knew I was in the bunker in 10."
Daly's playing partners, fellow British Open champs David Duval and Todd Hamilton, watched the scene unfold. "I couldn't see the lie but it couldn't have been too good," said Hamilton. "It looked like he hit a few then it looked like he was just trying to take out a bunch of hay. I didn't know if that was anger or actual swings. At first he said 18 just because he didn't really know, but when they sat down they got 13.
He was OK after that, though. It was really just one bad shot. He could have taken an unplayable but he was more than two club-lengths from anywhere that would have helped him. His best option would have been to take an unplayable and go back to the tee. But once he hit it, he couldn't go to the tee anymore. That option was no longer available to him.
That option, apparently, Daly was unaware of before he hit his second shot. Asked why he didn't go back to the tee, Daly said, "I found my ball. Once you find your ball I don't think you can." But under the Rules of Golf, a player has three options after declaring a ball unplayable -- and one of them is going back to the spot you last hit your ball. For Daly, that would have meant he could have re-teed, hitting 3.
This is hardly Daly's first time posting double-digits on a single hole. In fact, the list is somewhat lengthy, including a 12 at the 1994 Freeport-McMoran Classic, another 12 at the 1996 BellSouth Classic, a 10 at the 1998 British Open, a 10 at the 1999 Memorial and a 14 at the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach on the 18th hole. Then there were his pair of adventures at Bay Hill, where he made an 11 on the 18th hole in 2005 and the all-timer, an 18 on No. 6 during the 1998 event when he hit six shots into the water.
After the round Daly took the high road, answering questions without a hint of anger. "I parred No. 1, eagled No. 2 and figured a couple of birdies and I'll make the cut," he said. "But it was just a horrible swing. I deserved it."
For not knowing the unplayable ball rule, there's no argument here.
-- E. Michael Johnson