Daly's cup runs over as Rocca dries up

THE 124th OPEN: 'Wild Thing' embraces the claret jug after being forced into a play-off by Italian's extraordinary putt at the last

John Daly won the 124th Open Championship yesterday and the old silver claret jug will be filled with a beverage for which it was not intended. The 29-year-old American, a reformed alcoholic who once earned the sobriquet of "Wild Thing", defeated Costantino Rocca in a four hole play-off after the Italian pulled off the most breathtaking finish that even the Old Course had witnessed.

Daly, who as a rookie, came from nowhere to win the US PGA Championship in 1991, appeared to be home and dry in the arms of his wife, Paulette, in the clubhouse when his 71 put him at six under with an aggregate of 282. Rocca, who was suspected of being vulnerable with a putter in his hands, needed a birdie-three at the last to tie with Daly and when he duffed a chip the celebrations began in the American camp. Daly embraced his wife while Rocca stood over a putt of about 45 feet. He rammed it into the hole for a three which brought him level with Daly. While Daly disengaged himself from his wife, Rocca collapsed to the ground and began punching the hallowed turf.

Neither he nor anybody else in the crowd of 35,000 could believe that such an extraordinary climax was possible. The trouble is that Rocca's celebration was premature. In the play-off he did not appear to have anything left. They went down the first, the second, the 17th and 18th and Daly outplayed him: 4 to a 5, 3 to a 4, 4 to a 7 and 4 to a 3. Rocca, still running on the adrenalin of his amazing putt at the last, charged his first putt past the flag at the first and missed the return and at the second Daly holed from long range. At the 17th Rocca put his approach into the Road Hole bunker and took three to get out. All Daly had to do to win was to avoid smacking the ball into the precincts of the auld grey town as they went down the 18th for the last time.

Daly, who began the day at five under, four strokes behind Campbell, made his move at the fourth in the final round with a birdie and picked up further shots at the seventh and eighth to get to eight under at which point he led the championship. Daly wavered over the closing holes, dropping a shot at the 16th where he three-putted and another at the 17th where his approach landed in the face of the notorious bunker. Ernie Els, his playing partner, was in a similar predicament and the South African, playing first, showed him how to do it. Daly got out of the sand but it still cost him a bogey five. At the last he played safe with an iron and had to accept par.

Rocca, who began at seven under, appeared to be out of contention when he dropped to four under at the 10th but the Italian birdied the long 14th and made a miraculous save at the 17th, chipping from the road to within several feet of the flag. The Road Hole, however, finally took its toll on Rocca. Daly won pounds 125,000, Rocca pounds 100,000, and they finished a stroke in front of Steven Bottomley, Mark Brooks and Michael Campbell.

This was the 25th Open at St Andrews and, in terms of results, one of the most unorthodox. Bottomley was about a million to one with the bookmakers and that was just in the qualifying tournament last Monday. Bottomley, a perennial entrant in the tortuous process known as the qualifying school on the European Tour, played two rounds at Ladybank and only got into the Open after surviving a play-off which had eight men going for seven places.

Bottomley came through by holing a nine-foot putt at Ladybank with his eyes closed. Had he not had a bogey at the Road Hole, the 17th, yesterday he would have got into the play-off. Joe Francis, a magician by profession, was his caddie and considering Bottomley's promotion here that is not at all surprising.

Bottomley, who remarked on his seventh visit to the qualifying school, "I'd rather have a full bottle in front of me than a full-frontal lobotomy," is from Shipley in Yorkshire. "I have my parents, my caddie and my golf club to thank," he said."They have stood by me. To finish this way is unbelievable. It was the best round of my life. I tried not to think it was the Open." Bottomley had made only one cut in his last nine tournaments and his best finish in Europe was 10th in Tenerife in 1990. When he played the Challenge Tour - this is where Rocca cut his teeth - he lived in a mobile home. "Hopefully this will improve my confidence," he said. The 30-year-old Bottomley, who turned professional after qualifying for the 1987 Open, can now afford something more salubrious than a caravanette. Under such conditions his 69, which took him from two under to five under, was a minor masterpiece.

Jack Nicklaus, who teed off at 7.27am, had a one-under-par 71 and it is just as well there are fresher faces on the leaderboard. No Arnie at Royal Lytham next year and by the sounds of it no Golden Bear. Nicklaus, playing in his 34th successive Open, will return to St Andrews in the year 2000 but in between he is not sure. He didn't seem to be sure of anything yesterday.

"Not coming back has nothing to do with the courses being played in the next few years," Nicklaus said. "I don't even know where the Opens are being played. Maybe I like Lytham... Lytham I have always liked. I almost won the first time I played there." Nicklaus agreed with the view of Tom Watson that because of the development of clubs and balls, scoring is easier. He could envisage someone over 60 winning the Open. "The ball goes so far, the equipment is so much better and it is keeping guys in the game. Today you have about 400 guys who hit the ball as far as I did in my prime. I would like to see them do something about it."

Yesterday Nicklaus finished birdie, bogey, birdie and for the first time landed on the road at the 17th. As the song might have put it: Hit the road Jack and won't you come back no more?

Gordon Sherry, who has had a red letter month, finally played like a mere mortal and went round in 76. At 291, three over par, Sherry did not finish as leading amateur. That honour went to Steve Webster, who shot 73 and finished at one over par. It was an outstanding performance from the 20-year-old from Atherstone in Warwickshire who can now expect one of the two remaining places in the Britain and Ireland Walker Cup side for the match against the United States at Royal Porthcawl in September. Webster, of course, did not earn a penny and his career has been sustained by his mother Val who has three jobs. She had to relinquish one of her shifts over the weekend to watch her son and the time will probably come when she can afford to cut down on her workload.

Martin Johnson,

Ken Jones, page 22

HOW THE PLAY-OFF WAS WON

FIRST HOLE (1, 370 yds, par 4)

ROCCA (previous rounds: 3 4 4 4) 5

Three-putted, after good tee shot and pitch

DALY (previous rounds: 4 4 4 4) 4

Steady play won the hole

Daly leads by one shot

SECOND HOLE (2, 411 yds, par 4)

ROCCA (5 3 3 4) 4

Superb second shot rescued a poor tee shot

DALY (4 4 4 4) 3

Brilliant 50-foot putt for a birdie

Daly leads by two shots

THIRD HOLE (17th, 461 yds, par 4)

ROCCA (4 5 4 4) 7

Poor second shot into bunker, and three shots out of it decide the championship

DALY (4 4 6 5) 4

Monstrous tee shot and careful approach bring a hard-earned par

Daly leads by five shots

FOURTH HOLE (18, 354yds, par 4)

ROCCA (4 3 4 3) 3

Drove into Valley of Sin, but the birdie comes too late

DALY (3 4 3 4) 4

Steady pitch and run and two careful putts wrap up the championship

Daly wins play-off by four shots

FINAL ROUND SCORES

(GB or Irl unless stated, * denotes amateur)

282

J Daly (US) 67 71 73 71

C Rocca (It) 69 70 70 73

283

S Bottomley 70 72 72 69

M Brooks (US) 70 69 73 71

M Campbell (NZ) 71 71 65 76

284

V Singh (Fiji) 68 72 73 71

S Elkington (Aus) 72 69 69 74

285

M James 72 75 68 70

B Estes (US) 72 70 71 72

C Pavin (US) 69 70 72 74

286

P Stewart (US) 72 68 75 71

B Ogle (Aus) 73 69 71 73

S Torrance 71 70 71 74

E Els (SA) 71 68 72 75

287

G Norman (Aus) 71 74 72 70

R Allenby (Aus) 71 74 71 71

B Crenshaw (US) 67 72 76 72

P-U Johansson (Swe) 69 78 68 72

B Faxon (US) 71 67 75 74

288

P Mitchell 73 74 71 70

D Duval (US) 71 75 70 72

A Coltart 70 74 71 73

B Lane 72 73 68 75

289

L Janzen (US) 73 73 71 72

* S Webster 70 72 74 73

B Langer (Ger) 72 71 73 73

J Parnevik (Swe) 75 71 70 73

M Calcavecchia (US) 71 72 72 74

B Glasson (US) 68 74 72 75

K Tomori (Jap) 70 68 73 78

290

R Drummond 74 68 77 71

J M Olazabal (Sp) 72 72 74 72

D Frost (SA) 72 72 74 72

H Sasaki (Japan) 74 71 72 73

J Huston (US) 71 74 72 73

P Jacobsen (US) 71 76 70 73

D Clarke 69 77 70 74

D Feherty 68 75 71 76

T Watson (US) 67 76 70 77

291

S Ballesteros (Sp) 75 69 76 71

W Bennett 72 74 73 72

P Mickelson (US) 70 71 77 73

M McNulty (Zim) 67 76 74 74

N Faldo 74 67 75 75

B Watts (US) 72 71 73 75

* G Sherry 70 71 74 76

J Cook (US) 69 70 75 77

N Price (Zim) 70 74 70 77

292

I Woosnam 71 74 76 71

A Forsbrand (Swe) 70 74 75 73

M O'Meara (US) 72 72 75 73

T Nakajima (Japan) 73 72 72 75

B Claar (US) 71 75 71 75

K Green (US) 71 72 73 76

293

J Gallagher Jnr (US) 69 76 75 73

P O'Malley (Aus) 71 73 74 75

R Claydon 70 74 71 78

294

P Senior (Aus) 71 75 78 70

P Broadhurst 73 72 76 73

D Cooper 71 76 74 73

E Herrera (Col) 74 72 73 75

T Kite (US) 72 76 71 75

P Lawrie 73 71 74 76

M Gates 73 73 72 76

R Floyd (US) 72 74 72 76

J Leonard (US) 73 67 77 77

D Gilford 69 72 75 78

295

P Baker 70 74 81 70

J Maggert (US) 75 70 78 72

J Lomas 74 73 75 73

F Nobilo (NZ) 70 71 80 74

G Player (SA) 71 73 77 74

O Karlsson (Swe) 71 76 73 75

M Hallberg (Swe) 68 76 75 76

S Hoch (US) 74 72 73 76

G Hallberg (US) 72 74 72 77

J Rivero (Sp) 70 72 75 78

* T Woods (US) 74 71 72 78

296

R Kawagishi (Japan) 72 76 80 68

P Burke (US) 75 72 78 71

J Nicklaus (US) 78 70 77 71

B Lohr (US) 76 68 79 73

J Sandelin (Swe) 75 71 77 73

S Lyle 71 71 79 75

S Lowery (US) 69 74 76 77

D Robertson 71 73 74 78

J Haas (US) 76 72 70 78

297

M A Jimenez (Sp) 75 73 76 73

M Davis 74 71 76 76

J Delsing (US) 72 75 73 77

E Romero (Arg) 74 74 72 77

G Sauers (US) 69 73 75 80

W Riley (Aus) 70 72 75 80

298

J Hawksworth 73 74 75 76

B Longmuir 72 76 72 78

299

L Westwood 71 72 82 74

J Coceres (Arg) 71 76 78 74

300

S Burnell 72 76 75 77

D Love III (US) 70 78 74 78

301

* G Clark 71 76 80 74

302

D Pooley (US) 76 71 80 75

M Nichols 75 68 78 81

303

P Linhart (Sp) 72 75 77 79

News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez missed a penalty before scoring the opening goal with a header at the back post
footballLive! Sanchez makes up for penalty miss to put Arsenal ahead
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all