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Grip It And Grind It Out A new, improved John Daly leads the Tour in...putting?

April 13, 1998
April 13, 1998

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April 13, 1998

Pro Football

Grip It And Grind It Out A new, improved John Daly leads the Tour in...putting?

Calm John Daly has provided one of the more striking developments
of the 1998 season. Long known for wild mood swings, Daly is
playing the most consistent golf of his life--except for the 18
he made on one hole at the Bay Hill Invitational. We'll give him
that one, though, because, as Emerson said, "a foolish
consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," and there's
nothing little about Long John.

This is an article from the April 13, 1998 issue Original Layout

Daly swears he's a better player this year, a grinder who never
quits, and the numbers back him up. As the chart below shows, he
ranks higher in most major categories in 1998 than he did in his
seven previous years on Tour. As usual, he leads the Tour in
driving distance. His 301.3-yard average is 7.2 yards more than
second-place Tiger Woods's 294.1. What seems impossible,
however, is that he also leads the Tour in putting. (No one has
topped both categories in the same year since the Tour began
keeping statistics in 1980.) Daly's dominance in those vital
stats has led to a pair of streaks that suggest his new
consistency: From a fourth-round 67 at the Hope Chrysler Classic
through a Sunday 70 at Tucson, he played 14 consecutive rounds
at par or better, and going into the Masters, he had made seven
straight cuts.

The surest sign that Daly can grind is his play in final rounds.
He had been noted for mailing in ugly numbers when he was out of
contention; in 1996 he ranked 189th in final-round scoring
average. This year, though, if you overlook his 85 on the day he
took that 18 at Bay Hill, he is averaging 68.0 on Sundays, a
third of a stroke lower than Tour leader John Huston.

COLOR PHOTO: J.D. CUBAN [John Daly golfing out of bunker]

1998 1991-97

Driving Distance 301.3 (1st) 290.2 (1st)
Putting 1.694 (1st) 1.800 (125th)
Greens in Regulation 66.3% (60th) 62.9% (137th)
Driving Accuracy 56.6% (144th) 57.6% (183rd)
Scoring 70.55 (18th) 71.63 (130th)
Sand Saves 54.9% (47th) 53.1% (60th)
Birdies 4.33 (2nd) 3.47 (92nd)
Eagles 1/118.8 holes (13th) 1/186.7 holes (33rd)
All-Around 286 (8th) 694 (102nd)
Money $349,970 (21st) $304,276 (75th)

TIGER'S TASK

Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo won back-to-back at Augusta, but
defending champs' average finish is 14th. Here's how recent
Masters winners have fared the following year.

1997 Nick Faldo Cut
1996 Ben Crenshaw Cut
1995 Jose Maria Olazabal 4th
1994 Bernhard Langer 25th
1993 Fred Couples 21st
1992 Ian Woosnam 19th
1991 Nick Faldo 12th
1990 Nick Faldo 1st
1989 Sandy Lyle Cut

LONG GREEN

Sam Snead wouldn't trade his green jackets for anything, except
perhaps Nick Faldo's green jackets, which were worth far more.
Below are the 11 players who've won multiple Masters and what
they earned.

Wins Earnings

Nick Faldo 3 $875,000
Ben Crenshaw 2 $504,000
Jack Nicklaus 6 $269,000
Seve Ballesteros 2 $145,000
Gary Player 3 $100,000
Tom Watson 2 $100,000
Arnold Palmer 4 $ 68,750
Sam Snead 3 $ 11,750
Ben Hogan 2 $ 7,000
Horton Smith 2 $ 3,000
Byron Nelson 2 $ 3,000

The Number

3
Horses owned by Donna Andrews, whose win at the Longs Drugs
Challenge was worth $90,000 "and maybe some more horses," she
said.