The Loop

The Daly Update

February 14, 2008

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- John Daly is inimitable, which, most would agree, is surely a good thing. One of him is sufficient. But whatever one feels about him, he's difficult to ignore, and not simply because of his growing girth.

After shooting 69 in the first round of the Northern Trust Open Thursday, he spoke of the flu that has bothered him the last couple of days and how he was grateful to have swapped pro-am times with Phil Mickelson the day before, "because an hour earlier for me, I could catch the Willie Nelson concert last night."

A Willie Nelson concert would seem an odd elixir for flu. But this is John Daly's world.

"Me and my caddie both got the flu," Daly said. "The last two days have been brutal."

A decent round is the kind of medicine his golf game needed. This marked only the second time in 11 rounds this year that Daly has bettered 70. "It's nice to finally get off to a decent start," he said. "I made a good putt on one and made a really good birdie on three and then [another] on five. You get off to a start like that, and you feel like you can feed off it for the rest of the day."

Daly said he put a new shaft in his putter, one a half-inch longer. "Butch [Harmon, his instructor] wants me to shorten my stroke, so I added some length. I figure it makes it a lot easier to do that."

--* John Strege