Daly bows to personal problems

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The Independent Online
GOLF

Those who are not already here on the bonnie banks will drift into Glasgow airport for next week's Open at Troon over the next few days. Tiger Woods and some of his prospective Ryder Cup colleagues will do so via Valderrama, but John Daly, the 1995 Open champion, will not be making the journey at all.

Daly, 31, has been undergoing a fitness programme and has had sessions with a nutritionist since he walked off the course after nine holes of his second round of the US Open and no date for his return to the tour has been set. "I am saddened and disappointed not to be playing in the British Open this year, but my personal health and well-being require me to be elsewhere," Daly said in his formal letter of withdrawal.

An alcoholic binge in March led to Daly enrolling in the Betty Ford Clinic for the second time, as his third wife Paulette filed for divorce. When he beat Costantino Rocca in a play-off at St Andrews, Daly was fuelling his addictions with chocolate chip muffins instead.

At less than his best, the American would have struggled to keep up with the hot pace set at the Gulfstream World Invitational on a day of unbroken sunshine. Joakim Haeggman, the former Ryder Cup player, shot a 63 to break Jan Van de Velde's course record by two and the early clubhouse lead by two from next week's defending champion, Tom Lehman.

On a demanding lay-out, albeit in tranquil conditions, this was a high quality performance by the Swede, especially considering that he dropped a shot on each of the three occasions he missed a green. Lehman did not drop a shot at all, and missed some good chances, while Paul Curry had birdies at seven holes out of eight. Nick Faldo shot a 67, one better than Greg Norman, with Colin Montgomerie on 69 and Ernie Els on 70, after he made 17 pars and a birdie at the last.

What was not so hot was the pace of play. The later starters had plenty of time to admire the idyllic setting as rounds stretched to five and a half hours. Montgomerie, in the seventh match of the day, took four hours and 48 minutes for his round. "We waited on every shot," he said, launching into his cause for the day. "Five hours plus is just too long to play a round of golf on a lovely sunny day.

"I like to play quickly and spectators come to see golf shots played. We will only get anywhere if we police the situation properly. There should be a one-shot penalty, and if I got done I'd say `well done' because it would be a warning to not just to me but all the other buggers."

Fines are imposed and Haeggman, who was in the second group, used to collect them regularly. "I have not had one for a while," he said. "I used to play better when I got fined." At the seventh, his group were asked to keep up with group one, which was never going to hurry along as the unfortunate Michael Brooks, a Scottish amateur who has been selected for the Walker Cup team, was in the process of taking an 85.

GULFSTREAM LOCH LOMOND WORLD INVITATIONAL: EARLY LEADING FIRST-ROUND SCORES (GB or Irl unless stated; *denotes amateur): 63 J Haeggman (Swe); 65 T Lehman (US); 67 M Hallberg (Swe), J Sandelin (Swe), N Faldo; 68 P Eales, K Eriksson (Swe), M Gronberg (Swe), M Tunnicliff, G Clark, R Davis (Aus), G Norman (Aus), R Allenby (Aus); 69 S McAllister, M A Jimenez (Sp), C Montgomerie, M Gates, R Rafferty, P Quirici (Swit), R Muntz (Neth), I Garbutt, S Jones (US); 70 J Rask (Swe), P Lonard (Aus), R Russell, JM Olazabal (Sp), C Rocca (It), E Els (SA), S Ames (Trin), J Parnevik (Swe), D Carter, R Damron (US), G Nicklaus (US), R Coles, P Fulke (Swe), P Baker, R Chapman, R Lee, D

Hospital (Sp), S Grappasonni (It), L Westwood; 71 D Chopra (Swe), R Goosen (SA), D Gilford, D Borrego (Sp), J Townsend (US), J Rivero (Sp), D Cooper, *C Watson, D Robertson, P Lawrie, P Harrington; 72 G Sherry, T Tolles (US), MA Martin (Sp), T Bjorn (Den), I Woosnam, B Lane, J Van de Velde (Fr), R Claydon, P McGinley, H Twitty (US), G Evans, S Luna (Sp), J Robson, H Clark, M James, D Clarke; 73 J Payne, P Stewart, M McNulty (Zim), A Hunter, E Darcy, R Green (Aus), C Whitelaw (SA), R Willison, M Mouland, P Haugsurd (Nor), J C Pinero (Sp), C Mason, A Forsbrand (Swe), R Drummond, P Hedblom (Swe), G Turner (NZ), S Torrance, B Langer (Ger), G Brand Jnr, A Coltart.

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