- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
"That's right, Jack!" Daly hollers from the side of his mouth that's not gripping the Marlboro. "That's very true. Here I am sitting with my 104th Diet Coke and my fifth goddam bag of peanut M&M's, looking like a big bag of——. Yeah, Jack, let me light up another cigarette on that."
And yet inside Daly is a man with perhaps more Nicklaus-like potential than anybody else in the game. As a spectacle, he's already there. Daly is the only man on the PGA Tour who commands bigger galleries than Nicklaus. Tournament directors agree that Daly guarantees an extra 30,000 fans at the gate.
Hard? You have no earthly idea how hard Daly hits a golf ball until you have witnessed it. Yes, it's true that his 287.6 yards per drive this season leads all other players by 10 yards. (The year before Daly arrived on the Tour, the leader won by .2 of a yard.) And yes, it's true that Daly's drives are easily the longest in the 14 years the Tour has kept track. But what's more mind-bending than the length of his drives is their height. They go so high that the ball seems to vaporize. And if you're thinking about numbers, consider that Daly gets very little roll off his drives. Most players get at least a 20-yard roll. Daly's drives carry so high that they come down like hailstones and roll almost nowhere.
Daly is Shaquille O'Neal to the rest of golf's Will Perdue. The other day at the Greater Greensboro Open, Daly suddenly turned sideways on the tee of the par-5 13th hole, a dogleg left around a lake and hit a moon shot that not only carried the 320 yards over the lake but also ended up going about 360. Daly eagled the hole. Nobody remembers anybody else even trying that shot before.
Daly's monsterism is so famed that three or four times a year Japanese photographers ask his caddie to take the head cover off Daly's Killer Whale driver so they can shoot the legendary beast. Watch your fingers, boys. It's nearly feeding time.
In an $80,000, winner-take-all, long-drive showdown between Daly and the Senior tour's longest driver, Jim Dent, in April at the Woodlands in Houston, each player had the option to declare his first drive a mulligan. Dent went first. He hit a screamer 318 yards, right down the middle.
"Would you like us to count that one, Mr. Dent?" the moderator asked.
"Oh, yeah," said Dent excitedly. "Count it."
Now it was Daly's turn. He put in orbit a projectile that finally came down 321 yards later, with no roll. The crowd gasped.
"Would you like us to count that one, Mr. Daly?" the moderator asked.