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August 9, 2007
KELLY ELBIN: 1991 PGA Champion, John Daly, ladies and gentlemen, joining us at the 89th PGA Championship, where he leads in the first round with a 3-under par 67.
John, congratulations on the round. And some thoughts on why things went so well today.
JOHN DALY: I have no idea. (Laughter) There was odds with all the caddies and players this week who would fall first, me or my caddie. So we made it. We made 18 holes. But, it was one of those rounds, I was very aggressive off the tee. I didn't know what else to do. I haven't played this course since '94. Didn't play a practice round this week because it was too hot.
So the angles were really good for me today. My driver, hit the driver real well and putted good.
KELLY ELBIN: Go through your card with birdies and bogeys, please.
JOHN DALY: I can't remember the holes, it's been so long. I think I hit a driver on 4. Yeah, I hit driver -- wait a minute. I can't remember, to tell you the truth (laughter). Only had three heat strokes out there (laughter) honestly I cannot remember.
KELLY ELBIN: Birdied on 4, 7, 9 --
Q. You had a ten-footer from the left of the hole at 4, I think. About ten feet. You hit it nearly on the fringe.
JOHN DALY: You know what, I did. Hell, that's perfect (laughter).
Q. Somebody had to watch.
JOHN DALY: I cannot honestly remember.
KELLY ELBIN: Birdies on 4, 7, 9, 13 and bogey on 16.
JOHN DALY: I remember 9. Hit a beautiful L wedge in there. Made about an eight-footer. But 7, I know I hit a driver somewhere. No, 7 I hit 5-iron. That was a short par 4. 5, I hit a 9-iron to about eight feet and still made it. We'll go back to 4 in a minute (laughter).
13, the par 5, hit a beautiful drive, hit 8-iron in there and two putted.
And 16, since it's over 500 yards, I feel like I made par so I didn't make any bogeys today. Perfect.
KELLY ELBIN: Open up for questions, please.
Q. If you didn't play a practice round here at Southern Hills, how did you prepare for this tournament? What has John Daly been doing the last few days?
JOHN DALY: I've been playing slots over at Cherokee Casino (laughter). Did good the first day; didn't do too good the other day. But I played their golf course yesterday. I went out just in a cart. They gave me the golf course from 10:00 to 1:00 yesterday. I got a lot of practicing in.
And it was probably the best practice I did. Peter came out with me, and I hit this big duck hook on the first hole I played and I said, You know what? I'm taking the club too far inside. The rest of the day I started taking the club more outside, started getting the cut back and getting a little feel. But today was putting, putting was exceptional for me today.
Q. Razorbacks out there supporting you?
JOHN DALY: I think I had some Sooner fans and Cowboy fans as well. There's a lot of Hog fans out here. I only live -- only two and a half hours away from Dardanelle. I got a lot of fans here.
It's been great through these ups and downs the last couple of years, the way I've played. They're still coming out to watch me. As hot as it is, it's amazing that they're making it, although they do get to wear shorts, which we, I think, as PGA of America, need to talk about days like this we need to start wearing shorts ourselves.
But, no, the fans have been great.
KELLY ELBIN: John had six straight 1-putts on the front nine and 12 putts in all, on the front nine today.
Q. In all seriousness, is it good for you to show people that you still are a good golfer and it's not just, you know, sort of the comedian of the Tour, good philosophy, can you still play this game?
JOHN DALY: I feel like I have. It's been a tough year and a half on injuries. But ball-striking-wise I haven't really been playing that bad. My scores haven't been tremendously that bad.
I'm sitting there listening to Annika Sorenstam. She's hitting it great and not scoring. You try and find what it is that's not going so good, and it's really -- nothing hasn't really been going that bad.
It's just there hasn't been a lot of bad, bad golf shots. It's just been a couple of bad breaks here, a couple missed 5-, 6-footers that keep you going. That's really all it's been. Today I didn't hit a lot of fairways but I hit a lot of greens.
These fairways are very, very difficult to hit. But, no, I feel like I'm playing great golf. I've hit it -- in '05 and '06 I didn't hit the ball that great and scored really well. This has been a very good confidence booster for me. I don't know how well I'll play the next day or three days, hopefully, but I got a little bit of confidence in certain areas I haven't, especially putting.
Q. Before we get too deep into this golf stuff, how did you do at the slots?
JOHN DALY: I did okay the first day I was there. Got in Tuesday. I didn't do too good yesterday afternoon (chuckling).
Q. You mentioned the heat. Can you survive four days of this stuff?
JOHN DALY: It doesn't -- I'm used to it, let's put it that way. I grew up around this area. I'm used to kind of little valleys where you don't get a lot of -- you don't get any air and there's a lot of humidity and it's tough to breathe. I light up a cigarette and drink some caffeine and it actually works (laughter). It does bother me but I'm used to it, let's put it that way.
When you grow up around this area it's not the heat that bothers you, it's more the humidity than anything. And anybody that lives around here knows that. You can deal with heat. I can go to Palm Springs, California, Phoenix, Arizona, right now it could be 120 and you hardly sweat. So humidity is brutal and we're used to it.
Q. John, it's been, what, 16 years since you won the PGA Championship and 12 years since you won the Open championship. What message did you send to the golf world and what message did you perhaps send to yourself today with this 67?
JOHN DALY: Gave me some confidence. Something that's been lacking. Ball-striking has been good. It's just a round that hopefully can do something after this now and get some confidence. But like I said, the driving and the putting, didn't hit a lot of fairways with the driver, but I hit my lines and I made a lot of putts today. And to play well, you've got to have confidence. And I've had none, so hopefully this will help.
Q. John, is the rough, with your driver and the way you can -- is the rough to the point where you can take that driver out and have all kinds of confidence with it where you feel like you can get out of a jam if you do happen to go in the rough?
JOHN DALY: PGA's always been fair. I think it's been one of the fairest majors in that respect because it gives you an option to either try and you can chip out or you can go for it. You don't know if sometimes it's going to be a flyer or not. But it gives you an option to go at the green pretty much any hole if you miss a fairway. To me that's the way golf should be played.
But the rough is -- it is brutal, especially around the greens. Chipping is very difficult, because you don't know how it's going to come out. But I like the way the PGA has always set up golf courses. They set them up to where they're fair. They could have came here and the greens could be rolling 13, 14, knocking putts off the green like they did in the U.S. Open.
So I like the way they set up, because it does give you a couple of options to go for it or chip out, whatever you want to do.
Q. It's really honest to say, it's a confidence booster, but I really don't know how well I'll play tomorrow. Why do you say that? What is the challenge for you mentally and otherwise to play well, consistently, after a great day like today, given the ups and downs?
JOHN DALY: I feel good about my round. I feel like I'll come out here tomorrow and hopefully have some confidence. If I have a bad hole, I just have to remember what I did today.
Remember to slow my putt stroke down. I did something I haven't done in a long time in this heat, I went behind the hole, leading putts, trying to get anything out of it I could do. Bent over looking at some putts, stuff I haven't done. You bend down, it's not where you're hitting the ball from, because I always thought that's not how you're going to see your line, but -- and I actually sat over the putts longer instead of sitting over for three, four, five, six, seconds. More like six, seven today. Just hopefully continue to do that, keep patience. It would be great to play well.
Q. I'm not real sure how to ask this question, to be honest with you. But Tiger came in a week early to play the course. Got here at 6:00 Monday morning to start his practice rounds. Obviously you didn't. You admitted you haven't practiced here. Just talk about the difference in philosophies. And obviously it hasn't hurt your score yet.
JOHN DALY: Everybody is different. I'm in better shape than Tiger (laughter). No, I don't know. I was talking to Vijay at the British Open. He was there eight days prior to the tournament. I can't do that. I get burnt out.
I like to spend time with my kids and my family and ride around in a golf cart and play and get ready for a major and be home. I think everybody's a little different.
I don't know how to answer it. I've done it this way all my life. So it's just I guess it's the -- I don't know. I don't how to answer it, you're right. I don't know. But I think everybody is a little different, would be the only way to answer it.
Q. At Carnoustie, you had such a great start. I think you were 5-under through 11 holes. And I can't remember, was it a quad or something? And then the whole round came apart and the same thing the next day. Was that a lack of confidence after the one bad shot or did everything just go wrong there?
JOHN DALY: On the 12th tee, I was trying to hit a 3-wood on the left side, cut it and I slipped and hit it 80 yards right and chipped. Missed a short putt for bogey. I wasn't that upset. Then made a great three on 13. And 14 hit a decent drive and hit a good 2-iron. And my third shot out of the bunker on 14, there was like a kind of just a big enough rock under the ball, just came out far and made eight.
So, yeah, it's very disappointing. I played great the last three holes in. But it wasn't from bad golf shots. And that's something that I've finally realized that they're not bad golf shots. And in order for me to get some confidence and know that I'm hitting the ball better than I'm scoring, as long as I keep telling myself that, I think it will turn around.
I wasn't down on myself at the British. I played good golf. That was one hell of a golf course. Those last few finishing holes, I think they were the hardest in golf. I hated to miss the cut, but just build on something. And as long as I know I'm hitting the ball good, there's a chance I can play good.
KELLY ELBIN: For the record, John hit 14 of 18 greens in regulation today.
Q. Just wondering, obviously from listening to your confidence, a little bit tenuous, I'm wondering with regard to the British, was there any looking back at that because you got off to such a good start today as you did back then, was there any worry about the other shoe dropping, so to speak, today, where maybe a couple bad breaks or bad swing would have might have sent you the other way?
JOHN DALY: To be honest with you I was waiting to make a seven or eight because that's the way the year has been going the last year and a half. If there was 14 holes on a golf course, I would have won 17 tournaments in the last year and a half. That's the way I look at it (laughter). Look at my score card: One or two bad holes every round. And today was probably the first time in, I can't imagine -- probably since LA since that hasn't happened.
And it's tough, because you almost can't help but get down on yourself after that. But I feel good about my game. I feel good about my swing and just going to go out there. For me I've got to attack this golf course, especially off the tee.
Q. Can you take us through 16 and especially the punch out, how close were you to the hazard line there and after it was all said and done did you consider it a good bogey?
JOHN DALY: I did. I consider it par because anything after 500 yards is a par 5 in my book and it always will be. But, no, I had a clump of grass there on my second shot that I thought if I did miss it it would cut and go over the tree, and it didn't cut, it came out fat. Hit a really good chip. It wasn't a disappointing bogey, but I think it was a good break. It didn't go in the water two feet right. They cut it down. It would have rolled in. But it just hung in the rough. That was a good break. Haven't seen a lot of those in a while either. It was a good bogey.
Q. Your first two drives of the day, they go left on the other side of the trees and then under the galley ropes. You saved par on both, and keep afloat. Is there anything that happened during the course of the round that made you think, Hey, this is going to be my day?
JOHN DALY: No, those are probably the best two drives I hit. I'm on the driving range hitting these 15-yard, 10-yard cuts and got on one, just hit it straight. 2 hit it straight. They weren't bad drives. That's the kind of thing I've been talking about. And all day long I kept aiming down that left side and hitting driver, driver, driver, instead of trying to aim right.
The only hole I did it on was 16 and it goes right. So I've got to just trust my lines off the tees here. They are very difficult fairways to hit. And it's a different -- because most of the doglegs are right to left so it makes it more premium to hit it because I had a cut. As long as I can continue to hit my lines, that's basically all you can do.
Q. When you say you didn't know if you might have a seven or eight, you were waiting for it. I'm sure the sports psychologists out there, when they hear that, they might go insane to hear something like that. But have you ever been involved with those kind of people or no?
JOHN DALY: To be a sports psychologist you gotta be insane to listen to all our shit we've got to talk about. (Laughter). I don't know. I mean, I think I just answered that pretty damn good there.
Q. You did a good job. You're playing on sponsored exemptions, and the year's been rife with many of the usual off-the-golf-course stuff, Maxfli ad and getting pulled from CBS and the thing in Memphis with your wife. How do you keep going other than I guess being used to it?
JOHN DALY: Just keep going. Just gotta keep on plugging and keep going.
Q. As a kid, what was the hottest, dustiest golf course you played that would make this seem like a day at the beach?
JOHN DALY: Wow, it would be somewhere in west Texas, I think. Probably one of the 9-hole golf courses. Played a tournament, actually played in Lubbock, Texas, this is actually not too long ago, buddy of mine -- it was hot. Dusty. Windy, dusty, hot. I think I ate dust and dirt for breakfast, lunch and dinner that day (laughter).
Q. How close were you to the green on 10? You waited for them to -- on your tee shot?
JOHN DALY: It was pretty close to pin high, just a little short of pin high.
Q. To the right?
JOHN DALY: Just to the left there.
Q. How many pounds do you think you might have lost today? What do you usually weigh?
JOHN DALY: I always weigh too much and probably didn't lose any because I didn't drink one bit of water. I had Diet Cokes, Diet Pepsis.
Q. Have you ever gone into a major without playing any practice rounds before, and if so, when?
JOHN DALY: '91. (Laughter) yeah, I'm just trying to think. No, I think that might -- these two may be the only ones. I know the Masters like when I played I play nine holes every day. But I can't think of too many other ones.
KELLY ELBIN: You did okay in '91, didn't you?
JOHN DALY: Yeah.
Q. How many times on par 4s and 5s did you not hit a driver and how did that compare with your playing partners?
JOHN DALY: I'm trying to think. On the front -- I think I hit driver on every par 4, par 5. I think 17 I hit 2-iron. And then -- no, 7, 7 I hit 5-iron. And the rest of them I hit driver. Elk hit a lot of 3-woods today and Shaun hit a lot of drivers.
KELLY ELBIN: For the record, John hit 6 of 14 fairways today.
Q. Given that you like the line of your driver but most of them or a lot of them didn't hit the fairway and I thought you got some breaks out there, too, as far as sidelines once you were in the rough, any consideration to not hitting as many drivers given now your position in the tournament?
JOHN DALY: 18, I really didn't think my drive would go that far today, because the wind was pretty much -- I didn't think I could get it to that creek.
I get up there, wow, it's pretty tight up here (chuckling) but, no, I'll continue probably, there may be one or two. 18 would not be a driver unless there's a 30-mile-an-hour gale in our face.
But pretty much the same tomorrow. I like the way -- I like the way I lined up today. A few of them just didn't cut. You're right, I did get a few breaks in the rough. But I believe here that the further you're up, I would rather take my chances out of the rough, I feel I can at least advance it on or get it around there or playing conservative and hitting in the rough and you do have to chip out.
So hopefully just try to do the same thing tomorrow, maybe hit a few more fairways.
Q. Given that you're playing on a lot of sponsor's exemptions, do you feel as if you're playing for the rest of your career here this weekend, the significance of winning this tournament and what it could do for you?
JOHN DALY: No, I'm not thinking about it. I feel like I'm playing good enough golf to matter what happens the rest of this week, there's a few more tournaments I'm going to get in at the end of the year. I'm going to Sweden and Holland, play in a couple of European events after this.
I just feel like I'm swinging too good and I'm playing too good, something good is going to happen. I believe that otherwise I wouldn't be playing. If I didn't think I could win anymore I wouldn't be playing.
So I just feel like today was a good confidence booster for me.
Q. Can you describe what this year's been like, not just trying to get on sponsor exemptions but I know you were in Augusta doing sponsor stuff but didn't play. Has it been difficult on your ego just given your accomplishments in your career?
JOHN DALY: Well, I mean that was actually -- it was tough not playing Augusta. But that was actually a great week for me with Hooters and 84 Lumber. I was getting some days out and I was going to the Hooters tournament that Monday anyway. Going out and playing golf at Sage Valley every day. It's tough. But you have to deal with it sometimes. There's been a lot of great players, but there's a ton of great players that are on the Nationwide and aren't even playing the Tour anymore. I want to take advantage of the sponsors' exemptions. I've been trying to. But being hurt and not scoring well, seems like there's always something going wrong.
Today was a gift to me, I think, to myself and hopefully to my golf and hopefully I can continue to do it the rest of the week.
Q. It is Thursday, just Thursday. But is it hard for you not to think about how much a victory here this week could really change the way things have gone, all the struggles you've had the last couple of years?
JOHN DALY: I really can't think about it because the confidence isn't quite that high (chuckling). It's one good round of golf. But it's one that I really, really needed. And hopefully I just gotta come out tomorrow and people swing, keep the same swing thoughts and make the same putts I hit today, hit as many greens. I played the par 3s pretty good today and just gotta do that and hopefully keep going, hopefully keep getting more and more confidence and try to salvage this year.
Q. What happened with the Canadian Open? I think you withdrew with a shoulder injury, was that a factor?
JOHN DALY: Shoulder is still not right. But I'm opening my stance up trying to play more of a cut. The first hole at the Canadian Open it was out of place. I finished playing the first round, and it was hard to swing, when I was going to see a doc, I was going to see him that Sunday and I was sitting in my pool Saturday with some friends of mine and my kids and I just kind of turned to the right and couple of my friends go, What was that? My shoulder popped back in. I didn't have to go see the doc so it was perfect.
It's the crazy things that have been happening in my life. Today I don't know if it's popped out. I'm going to get it looked at again. But it's been sore about the last four or five holes.
Q. Just going back to the fact that you didn't have a practice round, how do you know where to hit it, number one? And how far do you want to hit it and where do you want to land it or do you take out the driver and bomb it? Secondly tell me about the practice at the casino. Did you do it because you could sit in the cart, be more relaxed?
JOHN DALY: Yeah, the yardage books are so good now, my goal is can I carry the dogleg, how far does it carry to the bunkers, any water hazards. And I work around that way when I don't play a practice round. But yesterday was great, go out in shorts and T-shirt and hit four or five balls. Hit four or five tee balls, four or five shots into the greens, chipping. And the greens were not quite as quick as these. But it was just a great day to take the shag bag out there, get a lot of work done. Real privately. Real peaceful. It was nice to do that.
Q. Can you detail what those injuries were? And the second question, 18, how far was that drive and what did you have into the pin?
JOHN DALY: I don't know how far the drive was. I had 123 to the front, 128 to the hole.
Q. The injuries?
JOHN DALY: This year it's been the shoulder and rib. The rib's been pretty good. But the shoulder it hasn't been behaving. It's nice out of the rough here it's not as bad as say sometimes the British Open or U.S. Open. But we've had some tough rough this year. Seems like everywhere we go now, seems like almost all the courses are set up like majors and the rough is pretty brutal. Something I'm going to have to deal with probably a long time.
It would be great to play good and keep my card somehow. I need a month off to let it heal.
KELLY ELBIN: John Daly, the leader of the 89th PGA Championship.
End of FastScripts