News & ToursOctober 19, 2014

It's Vegas, not Quad Cities. Where have you gone John Daly?

No news is not good news, not when the PGA Tour spends a week in Las Vegas and the local gossip columnist whose dogs were named Rumor and Scandal came up empty on golfers.

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Ben Martin.jpg

(Getty Images photo)

There was a time that Norm Clarke of the Las Vegas Review Journal, his distinctive black eye patch drawing attention to his column, would report on the comings and goings of noted PGA Tour stars who weren't spending their after hours in evening vespers.

It was, if not the best part of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, often the most entertaining part. Alas, Clarke failed to turn up any dirt or even dust on PGA Tour players last week. Where have you gone John Daly?

Related: See the clubs Ben Martin used to win

This is not to suggest that the PGA Tour's annual stop in Vegas has become dull, though a winner named Martin (and we don't mean Kaymer) doesn't help. What, Smith and Jones weren't entered?

Still, it was more fun when golf's rogues put Vegas on their schedule because, well, they're rogues and it's Vegas, more entertaining when "The Hangover" wasn't just a movie about rogues' lost weekend in Vegas but a condition with which to be reckoned on the first tee the following morning.

The closest we could uncover from this field was that the winner, Ben Martin, lists "The Hangover" as his favorite movie. Scandalous.

Actually, Martin, 27, is a quality player (he earned more than $1.4 million last year) who has youth and potential on his side. This was his first PGA Tour victory in this, his third season, and it isn't likely to be his last.

"He wasn't one of the high recruited players," his college coach, Larry Penley of Clemson, said on Sunday. "As a matter of fact, he was a kid really just looking for a spot on the team. But you could tell very quickly he was bound for some great things. He did everything the right way. He worked extremely hard. Very intelligent kid. Very athletic kid.

"Ben was lucky enough to have Kyle [Stanley] as a teammate for three years. Kyle was the hardest worker that I've ever had maybe next to Jonathan Byrd. Ben took it to heart. I kept telling him, if you want to make it on tour, do what Kyle is doing."

Working hard is better for careers than it is for gossips. Quality putting is the ace in the hole, in Vegas or elsewhere, for golfers, and it was not a strength of Martin's game until hours and hours on the practice green made it one.

"He's really had to make himself a good putter," Penley said. "Watching him get better with that putter has really been the difference."

Related: 11 PGA Tour sleepers to watch out for in 2014-2015

Martin played the final four holes in four-under par, which included an eagle at 16 and birdie at 18 on holed putts of 46 feet and 19 feet.

"It was an awesome way to finish," he said. "I didn't really feel like I had much going all day, but to finish four under on the last four was awesome."

It will surely make headlines in Vegas newspapers on Monday, but for all the wrong reasons. It's Vegas, after all. Give us rumor and scandal.

Follow @JohnStrege

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