John Daly will be back at Augusta for the US Masters from April 11-14 – and that’s great news for his fans and for golf.
|Daly - back at Augusta.|
Lee Trevino always said that Augusta National never suited a regular fader of the ball and Daly, even with a draw has never figured seriously apart from a tie for third behind Bernhard Langer in 1963, when he finished six shots adrift of the German.
But now he says he has developed even more shots into his repertoire of power and touch and is confident he can make an impact.
"You get into those tournaments and you think you’re going to be in there for the rest of your life," says Daly. "I always said, ‘Well, I’ve got next year; I’ve got next year.’ That year runs out. And it was pretty tough."
He started last year out of the world top 500 – only the world’s top 50 get an invite - and made an incredible rise to No. 51, narrowly missing out. His only goal this year was to get into the top 50 by Monday’s deadline. He made it by seven places at No.43.
"I hear the golf course is even more perfect for me now, and it will be interesting to play Augusta with a cut," says the man from Arkansas.
Matt Kuchar, following his maiden Tour victory at the Honda Classic, made the Top 50 on the mark to claim his place, having started the year at No.210. Rory Sabbatini completes the 89-strong field, though if an outsider wins next week’s Players Championship, he’ll get in, too.
Seventeen Europeans are in the line-up, including Michael Hoey, the Amateur champion, from Ireland, who is traditionally set to partner Arnold Palmer over the first two rounds.
The line-up is: Masters champions: Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Jose Maria Olazabal, Mark O’Meara, Nick Faldo, Ben Crenshaw, Bernhard Langer, Fred Couples, Ian Woosnam, Sandy Lyle, Larry Mize, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Craig Stadler, Tom Watson, Fuzzy Zoeller, Gary Player, Raymond Floyd, Tommy Aaron, Charles Coody.
U.S. Open champions (past five years): Retief Goosen, Lee Janzen, Ernie Els British Open champions (past five years): David Duval, Paul Lawrie, Justin Leonard.
PGA champions (past five years): David Toms, Davis Love III. Players Championship (past three years): Hal Sutton.
US Amateur champion and runner-up: Bubba Dickerson, Robert Hamilton. British Amateur champion: Michael Hoey. US Public Links Amateur champion: Chez Reavie. US Mid-Amateur champion: Tim Jackson.
Top 16 and ties from the 2001 Masters: Phil Mickelson, Toshi Izawa, Mark Calcavecchia, Kirk Triplett, Jim Furyk, Angel Cabrera, Steve Stricker, Chris DiMarco, Brad Faxon, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Paul Azinger, Rocco Mediate. Top eight and ties from the 2001 US Open: Mark Brooks, Stewart Cink, Tom Kite. Top four and ties from the 2001 Open Championship : Niclas Fasth, Billy Mayfair, Darren Clarke. Top four and ties from the 2001 US PGA: Steve Lowery, Shingo Katayama.
Top 40 from the 2001 PGA Tour money list: Sergio Garcia, Scott Hoch, Bob Estes, Scott Verplank, Mike Weir, Joe Durant, Robert Allenby, Frank Lickliter, Tom Lehman, Jeff Sluman, Scott McCarron, Kenny Perry, Jesper Parnevik, Kevin Sutherland, Jose Coceres, Jerry Kelly, Shigeki Maruyama, Tom Pernice, Billy Andrade.
Top 50 in the world ranking: Padraig Harrington, Colin Montgomerie, Thomas Bjorn, Michael Campbell, Lee Westwood, Nick Price, Paul McGinley, Stuart Appleby, Charles Howell III, Toru Taniguchi, Adam Scott. Top 50 in the world ranking as of March 11: John Daly, Rory Sabbatini, Matt Kuchar. Special foreign invitation: Greg Norman.