John Daly's missed putt at American Express Championship: he's now officially biggest choke artist in the game
I’m betting few people are going to use the word “choke” in connection with John Daly’s missed three-footer in Sunday’s final round of the American Express Championship.
He’s such a beloved character, everyone’s trying to find an excuse, including Daly himself. ("I may have pulled it, I don’t know,” Daly said afterward).
Yes, you pulled it because you gagged. True, Daly had been having putting problems the whole day. Yes, he missed other short putts.
But, missing a three-foot putt in a playoff with Tiger Woods – in a prestigious, international field – has to be called what it is: a choke of 7.6 on the Richter scale.
It was a nightmare – even Woods turned his head and grimaced like he couldn’t bear to watch something so humiliating.
In a way, this will solidify Daly’s association with the common man. Who among us hasn’t blown a short putt like that with far less on the line?
The difference is Daly is a pro playing at the highest echelons of the game. Therefore, he’s subject to more intense scrutiny. So let there be no confusion: John Daly is now officially the game’s biggest choke artist.
Every time he faces similar putts in big tournaments – he and everyone watching will be thinking about that blown opportunity.
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The fact is that Daly must have a had a lot more talent and a lot less choke than all those who managed not to be in the playoff with Tiger!
Poor John. I like the guy; I WANT TO like the guy, but his personality--hate to say it--is just so typical of people who have a problem with drink. It makes me wonder if Poor John's deepest darkest inner self CHOSE to miss that putt. "I missed the damn putt. Who can blame me if I act like a jerk for the next 3 months?"
It's my guess that Poor John's demons have yet to be sufficiently exorcised to allow him to make that final step in his comeback. The last step is to achieve personal realization that he really does deserve to win. And I'm not sure that he'll ever get wise to it.
Poor John has worked hard enough to be among the top 5 in golf. He's paid enough dues, doing the hard work on the driving range to be a champion. But, winning not only has a price, it has an obligation. An obligation to act like a champion. Champions don't relish playing the role of the designated lovable wino of the tour.
Not only that, after Tiger over-spun (mini-gag) his pitch shot to the 18th on the first playoff hole, Daly hit an even worse shot. You don't think that's choking? When was the last time you saw 2 of the best players in the world miss the green with a sand wedge?
At times, everybody does it to some degree. Daly just happened to have a big one at this event. Tiger was there to be had.
Tim had it coming
The only person who has ever talked sense on this site is Mwillie. I can bet youre a good golfer without even having to practice.
Calling JD the biggest choke is a gross overstatement.
Norman or Van de Velde, take your pick.
And Shanks, Johnny Miller may call it a choke, but I don't see him dominating the Senior Tour, like he said he would. Come to think of it, I don't even see him playing. So I think he should take his choke talk and shove it up his butt. That's a thread we need, evaluating the announcers. Johnny Miller is an ass. If I see him cry one more time when he talks about his US Open win, I think I'll puke.
I don't always agree with Miller's comments but I really like that he is so candid. Sounds like one of the guys you might be watching with at home but with a lot more credibility. I think his accomplishments at the highest level more than justifies his right to speak to the topic of choking. Yeah, he was wrong about dominating the Senior Tour. His knees and the yips have taken care of that. Some of the younger readers of these threads probably don't know just how good he was, only that he won the US and British Open once each. In the 70s he may have been the best pure ballstriker in the world.
Sure, Greg Norman choked away a few but in some he was just beaten and a few were outright stolen from him by bolts of lightning. And he also did manage to win a couple of Opens. Believe me, I'm no fan of his, but I have to give him his due.
Van de Velde redefined the word choke. THAT was even hard to watch. That he didn't play for bogey on the tough 18th hole is incredible. Reminded me of a quote from Marcellus Wallace in the movie Pulp Fiction - "That's just pride, f***ing with you."
I think there is a difference between being candid and saying things for shock value/being rude.
I will give JM credit for his iron play. I'm not very "old", and I am well aware of his tour record. But he speaks as though he has a record comparable to Nicklaus/Player/Palmer. He doesn't. He shares a career much like Curtis Strange, in my book. Best player in the world for a year or two, then went into a funk. I don't mind an announcer saying something about executing a poor shot. But to question someone's character, I think it is over the line. Nicklaus and Player show some class, Miller lacks it. He's like listening to Joe Theisman on Sunday Night Football. Annoying.
Personally, the NBC golf crew is the worst of the major broadcasting crews in my book.
Hey Balls Out Blogger, is this criticism good enough for you???
My favorite announcers are the team of Azinger & Faldo. They talk about nerves too. Another of my favorites is Peter Alliss - a great wit.
I have enjoyed listening to Faldo. Who would have known that he had a sense of humor? I like Azinger's style: he is critical w/o losing his own sense of self.
Alliss is great. I wish someone would bring back Ben Wright. Boobs or no boobs.
Oh my, do we actually agree on something?
He can miss 3 footers all day if he likes and would still pull a bigger crowd than any other golfer playing that day except for ETW. I am sure 99.5% of the world's golfers have done the exact same thing at a crucial part of your game(ie. best round ever, big money game e.t.c.).
Maybe he ran out of smokes the hole before or was in a rush to get to a poker game? Either way, he lost no fans for a minor indiscretion of ability.
Rock on JD!
Ben Wright got railroaded and is sorely missed, although Oosty does a credible job as CBS' resident Brit.
Friendly disagreement here. I don't think JD is a disappointment. In fact, I would point to a few things to illustrate his overachievement:
1. Born of modest means, a blue collar family.
2. No formal lessons, developed his unorthodox swing on his own.
3. Took an opportunity as an alternate in his first major tournament and turned it into a major win.
4. Has overcome personal shortcomings to win on the world's toughest tour.
Does JD hit it prodigious distances? Yes. Is that a liability or asset? Both.
His swing is self-taught. His swing is too long. What is the hardest thing in the world to do? Change your swing. What's even harder is to SHORTEN your swing. I am dealing with it now, and it is TOUGH. So I give him credit when I see him hit "knockdown" iron shots. You would have never seen him do that years ago. Proof that in spite of his fundamental shortcomings, he is still working to try to improve. Do you see Furyk working to change that loopy swing of his?
Before we bring JD into the mix of "immense talent wasted", we should bring up other names before him. Monty, Appleby, Norman, Love.
JD isn't a choke. He isn't an underachiever. He is an overachiever, overcoming a modest upbringing, a fundamentally flawed swing, and winning when he had the chance.
Regarding the others, why would Furyk change his swing? Now there's a guy who appears to get everything out of his talent. Barring that unfortunate injury, there's no telling what he might have done the last 2 years. He's just getting back in the form he was showing when he sustained the injury. He's already over $4 million in 2005, behind only Tiger, Singh & Mickelson. I can only imagine what Daly might do if he had this guy's determination.
Norman gets a pass from me on the few chokes because of all his other success (and I don't really like him either). Sometimes he gets a bad rap for being skewered by the Tway/Mize/Frost/Gamez hole-outs on the final hole of the tournament (two of which cost him 2 more Majors), like he had something to do with that. His meltdown at Augusta was so extraordinary that I think it colors the rest of his record.
Monty, Appleby and Love ..... yep, agreed, all have a sustained history of gagging, although Appleby is not quite in their class because he hasn't done it nearly as often in the biggest tournaments like the other two have.
We just see things differently.
You reference the fact that... "Being able to do what he has done without a teacher is an indication of natural talent level, but perhaps it is also an indictment of his thought processes too, which is really his achilles heel."
I see a man overachieving, not having the benefit of a teacher thru childhood, as many of his contemporaries enjoyed.
He is not the smartest or mentally toughest guy on tour. In fact, he may be among the least intelligent and least mentally strong pro's on tour. The fact that he could win ANY tournament, let alone two majors, speaks volumes to me that he has overachieved, not underachieved.
I guess the crux of the issue is that I don't believe JD can be someone different. I don't see it as laziness, I see it that he is who he is. Warts and all. And given his success, in light of his personal shortcomings, I see him as someone who perseveres, even in spite of himself sometimes. That's the best any of us slugs could ask for.
Wow, we even disagree on "perseverance". Imagine that.
Daly had a rough go of it for a number of years, battling personal demons, addiction and poor play. Coming out from underneath that shadow is persevering, in my book. To make it all the more impressive, he had to deal with all of these issues very publicly. Though he dirtied his own laundry, he had to air it out in front of EVERYBODY. And he has a nice comeback in the making.
Look at Duval, Baker-Finch, etc. These guys dealt majorily with game issues, not personal ones. Think of all the third-tier pros we don't hear about, who can't make it on tour.
All in all, being a pro is tough. Not sure if I had the game that I would be interested in living on the road and living a public life. So I give credit to these guys and give them a little more lattitude for it.
Of course, Shanks, you have the right to disagree.
Of course, it's tough to make it on Tour. Almost everybody has to practically kill themselves to do so. And here is Daly, who does it mostly on sheer talent. If he worked as hard as, say, Tiger - how good do you think he could be? I personally think he could challenge Tiger week in and week out. If not quite that, he could probably be in the top 10 in the world. But I don't think he's got the onions to try that hard & risk failing. He'd rather have this "poor-old-me" built-in excuse. That is what I find sad and a waste.
But the real reason I'm not a Daly fan is because of his quitting. That is - at least - totally unprofessional. I realize it could be just me, butI think he has an obligation to his fans - the paying customers - to try on every shot ... or at least act like it.
Get drunk, gamble and chase women. Can't say it is very profitable, but it is a hell of a lot of fun.
How good would he be if he practiced like Tiger?
Don't know. Practice doesn't work for everyone. Look at Lietzke. For some people, practicing doesn't always produce better results, either. The Q-School is littered with PGA Pros who have lost their game on the driving range. Dana Quigley had his finest year. He plays golf, he doesn't practice. For every Singh, there is also a Herron.
Agreed, unprofessional. You don't have to like it, but that is part of what makes JD the person he is. Golf is entertainment, and I have to admit that part of me is interested to see the ball coming back to him and him swiping it with his putter.
Everyone is different. But I don't see JD as a waste of talent or potential, because I personally believe that it is much more difficult to overcome personal shortcomings that physical ones. And winning two majors with his train wreck life is a hell of an accomplishment.
I can only imagine how many of us common people would be evaluated if we were under the same degree of scrutiny.
As far as Lietzke, he doesn't have to practice to play the way he plays, just like Daly. He's satisfied with just earning a (great) living. But HE could also be wasting talent. There's no telling how good he could be if he worked at it too. And I think most would agree that Lietzke is below Daly's talent level.
Unlike you, DP, I don't find Daly's quitting fascinating in the least. I guess the behind-the-scenes fines got enough of his attention that at least he doesn't outright quit on a tournament anymore. Now he just plays the final round very, very disinterested. He's a big baby.
Honestly, I think you are being a little to hard on JD. If you dislike his "quitting", that's one thing. However, I think he is far from getting drunk and chasing women.
Talented? Absolutely. But the sports world is, and always has been, filled with athletes with physical gifts and not mental ones. JD just doesn't have the same mental gifts as, say, Tiger Woods. (Who we all know was specifically trained in mental preparation from early childhood.) Do you really think that JD had an equitable upbringing in that regard? Probably not. Again, one of the most difficult things to change is the inner person we are. Think of it in personal terms, Shanks. How often have you been able to change, and I mean TRULY change, a mental or character deficiency you may have? How hard are you on yourself for falling short? Then why are you so hard on JD for failing to achieve change that eludes most of us in our private lives?
You certainly have the right to dislike JD, but I have a difficult time accepting the argument that he is a "waste of talent." He has been able to win based on his physical talents, and despite his lack of mental shortcomings (as compared to many of the high echelon peers).
Big baby? Maybe. But waste of talent? Don't think so. You compare him, unfairly so, to the greats of the game. I don't think he warrants that comparison.
As far as the big man drinking, there was an article on si.com recently about Daly doing a routine promotional at Hooters. I really don't wish him ill, but that can't be a very wise decision for a man of his "tastes".
I won't go into my personal life but I will say you'd probably be surprised at the personal challenges I have met and continue to work on. And it's not like I enjoy doing it either. Like golf, character building is not easy. If it was, everybody would do it.
Agreed. Responsible for his actions. Can't argue with that.
Hogan, Nicklaus, Woods....
What separated(s) them from others in their generation? Prodigious talent WITH the mind of a steel trap. These guys stand out amongst other greats in the history of golf for their achievements and mental prowess.
I think we both agree that Daly isn't even in the same league as Woods when it comes to mental prowess. So I consider him to be talented but not a great of the game. Hogan had Snead, Nicklaus his Weiskopf. While the comparison is overly simplistic, I think they show that men of equal or greater physical gifts still lose.
Probably just arguing semantics, here. And Shanks, I think you are a little overly critical of the Hooters clientele. After all, you can by a bottle of Dom at Hooters.
When you go, insist that your waitress wears a hairnet under her shorts.
Myself, I like the buffalo shrimp ... minus the hairs, of course.
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