Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

April 23, 2013

Daly to play in South Georgia Classic

Two-time major champion arrived in Valdosta Monday evening

VALDOSTA — His RV parked on Kinderlou’s property, John Daly is officially in Valdosta.

Daly, a two-time major champion known for his entertaining personality  and colorful clothing, will play in this week’s South Georgia Classic  presented by First State Bank and Trust Company at Kinderlou Forest  Golf Club, a tournament official confirmed to The Times Monday evening.

After weeks of speculation that Daly would attend, the five-time PGA TOUR winner ended all doubt when he tweeted Monday afternoon that the field for the PGA Tour’s Zurich Classic in New Orleans was full and he was  instead driving to Valdosta.

“field full at the Zurich, but that’s ok, headed to play Valdosta for the South Georgia Classic! #keepgoinafterit,” Daly tweeted.

Daly arrived in Valdosta just before 7 p.m., with just a few stragglers from Monday’s Pro-Am left walking around and the majority of the grounds crew hard at work preparing for today’s practice rounds.

Daly’s appearance in this week’s South Georgia Classic is his second Web.com Tour event this season. He also pa rticipated in the Chitimacha Louisiana Open in March but missed the cut. In his career, Daly has one career win on the Web.com Tour, coming in the Ben Hogan Open in 1990.

Best known for his ability to drive the ball great distances, Daly won the 1991 PGA Championship and followed it nearly four years later when he won the 1995 British Open Championship. He becomes the third major champion to enter this year’s South Georgia Classic, joining PGA champions Rich Beem and Shaun Micheel.

Since winning the 1995 British Open, Daly’s life and golf game have had its fair share of ups and down. After a decline on the course, Daly won the 2004 Buick Invitational and was selected as the PGA Tour Comeback Player of the Year.

He spent the 2008 season on the European Tour, finishing second in the Italian Open after losing 40 pounds.

After dropping 80 pounds, slimming down to 205, Daly returned to the PGA Tour in 2009, when he shot a career-high 88 in the Buick Open, claiming he lost confidence in his golf game.

Since, Daly has resurrected his career, shooting a 68 in last year’s PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, S.C., and finishing 18th in the  tournament, his first top 20 finish in a major since the 2005 British Open.

Now, as he continues to work back to gaining full-time PGA membership status, Daly is set to test his golf skills on the lengthy Kinderlou Forest Golf Club course suitable to a player of his caliber — a striker.

In 108 total drives last year, Daly was ninth on the PGA Tour in driving distance, averaging 308.6 yards per drive.

The announcement of Daly’s arrival capped an exciting day Monday at Kinderlou, filled with players walking the course and hitting the driving range plus a full field at the Pro-Am.

The team of John Robinson, Chris Reid, John Ed Hatfield, Matt Bradshaw and professional Lee Bedford won the Monday Pro-Am with a score of 45.  

Nick Waller, Rob Nucatola, Les Akers, Rick Shapley and professional Danny Ellis finished second with a 52.

Ken Stewart, Wesley Langdale, Bryan Toler, Buck Kennedy and 2007 South Georgia Classic champion John Kimbell finished third with a 52.

The Pro-Am play continues Wednesday with two separate flights — a morning and afternoon. The Seventh Annual South Georgia Classic officially begins Thursday morning and continues through Sunday at Kinderlou Forest.

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