John Daly Withdraws From Bmw International Open

By: Anthony Fontanelle

John Patrick Daly withdrew from the BMW International Open for personal reasons.

Daly, who earned US$220,000 earlier this week at the Telus World Skins event in Thornbury, Ont., won the BMW tournament in 2001. Daly, also known as 'Long John,' is famed for his "zero to hero" victory in the 1991 PGA Championship, his driving distance off the tee, his non-country club appearance and attitude, and his rough-and-tumble private life.

"We are very sad that John won't be taking part, but we understand his decision," tournament director Marco Kaussler said last Wednesday. "We hope that his private situation will resolve itself quickly and very much hope that he will be back taking part in the BMW International Open next year."

Two weeks ago, Daly said that his fourth wife tried to attack him with a steak knife while he slept. She claimed that two-time major champion made up the story to cover up a drunken fit. Meanwhile, the American professional golfer is expected to play next week at the Buick Open near Flint, Mich.

Daly turned professional in 1987, and won the Ben Hogan Utah Classic in 1990. In 1991, he joined the PGA Tour and won the championship. This victory gained Daly a remarkable amount of media hype due to the fact that he was the ninth and final alternate for the championship. Like the efficient BMW steering rack, Daly's golf career flourished.

He entered the competition when Nick Price dropped out and no other alternate is available. Daly parlayed this chance into a first round score of 69, without a practice round. He finished the tournament with scores of 67-69-71, giving him a three-stroke win over Bruce Lietzke. Eventually, Daly was given the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year title. He was also the first rookie to win a major title since Jerry Pate in 1976.

In 1992, Daly won the B.C. Open and the 1994 BellSouth Classic. Three years after, he unpredictably won the British Open in a playoff with Italian Costantino Rocca at St. Andrews. Daly is the only eligible two-time major winner never picked to play in the Ryder Cup.

The BMW International Open, founded in 1989, is an annual men's professional golf tournament on the European Tour. The BMW tournament has started Thursday. Ernie Els leads the field along with Henrik Stenson and former champions Colin Montgomerie, Thomas Bjorn, Miguel Angel Jimenez and David Howell.

"That was a decent start to my tournament. I kept it in play, hit a lot of greens and made a few putts. It was a nice, enjoyable round. The greens are in great condition. They're fairly flat and a nice speed. If you keep hitting the greens, you're going to make some putts," said Els.

Jose-Filipe Lima said, "I'm very happy with this round because I've had a bad start to the year, and this is very good for my confidence. I even missed some birdies on the back nine. I need to continue like this. If I make 7-under Par four times, I think it's enough to win."

"I changed my putter yesterday and had a pretty good round in the Pro-Am. Today I hit a lot of greens and holed a few putts too. I was lucky that I only ended up in the rough once. If your driving starts to go sideways here, you have a big problem," noted Marc Farry.

Niclas Fasth said, "I played fantastically today. I'm very happy with my game and it's nice to be back in Europe. I'm tired but considering the weather, maybe I have been lucky with my tee time."

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