Published January 13, 2015
John Daly at least was proud of a beautiful pitch from 30 yards to a foot of the cup.
It allowed him to limit the damage to a 10.
Whatever hopes Daly had of making the cut Friday in the Tampa Bay Championship ended early in his second round when he made a 10 on the par-4 third hole at Innisbrook. He hooked his 4-iron hybrid into the trees and decided to pitch out toward the fairway.
That was his mistake.
"As soon as you make that decision," he said, "you can't go back to the tee."
His second shot clipped a tree and went backward into bushes and grass so deep he had to take a penalty drop. His fourth shot hit another tree and went back to where it was, only this time he thought he could play it. Daly didn't pull off that shot, and then took another penalty drop. He barely got out into the rough with his sixth shot, and then knocked his seventh shot to about 30 yards short of the green.
"Beautiful chip," Daly said.
It was the 15th time Daly has made at least a 10 on one hole — at least on the PGA Tour.
He was headed for a record number in the Australian Open in 2011 until he ran out of golf balls on the par-5 11th hole. He would have been playing his 16th shot.
Daly has made at least a 10 in every major except the Masters, the most famous coming at the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 when he swatted a moving ball on the eighth hole of the final round and made an 11. He also made a 14 on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach in the 2000 U.S. Open by hitting one ball out-of-bounds, three into the ocean and one shot left-handed against the sea wall.
His most famous big number came at the Bay Hill Invitational in 1998 when he hit 3-wood into the water six times on the par-5 sixth hole in the final round and took an 18. Daly bounced back with a birdie on the next hole.
This was more of a risky decision to play through the trees.
It was similar to when Kevin Na made 16 two years ago in the Texas Open from thicket bushes that left him no chance to take a reasonable drop. A year ago, Charlie Wi took a 13 on the fifth hole at Innisbrook when three shots hit a tree and caromed out-of-bounds onto the range. Last year at Doral, Sergio Garcia hit four balls into the water on the par-4 third hole and took 12 in the final round.
Daly is in good company.
He just seems to ring up big numbers more than anyone else. At the end of his round, he missed a 30-inch putt and shot 81. After a brief interview, he walked over to the a few dozen fans and signed autographs.