GOLF: Daly aiming for a St Andrews treble

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The Independent Online
JOHN DALY, his alcoholic demons under control for the time being, turned up at St Andrews, the scene of two of his greatest triumphs, yesterday ready to play his part in completing a personal hat-trick.

Proclaiming his abiding love of the Old Course, which stages this week's Alfred Dunhill Cup where Daly will join up with Tiger Woods and Mark O'Meara in the US team, he did not duck the issue of his attack of the "shakes and chills" which reduced him to tears during the opening round of the Greater Vancouver Open six weeks ago.

He shot a 74 that day, finishing his round clad in two anoraks on a hot summer's day. He followed that with a 70 to miss the halfway cut and has not played a Tour event since. He dropped off the circuit in order to tackle that setback to his recovery from alcoholism.

Daly said the problem had not gone away and he had had to contend with more shakes and chills. "Yeah, it happens quite a bit. But I'm kind of right where I'm supposed to be today, so they tell me," he said.

Daly's Vancouver experience came at the end of a painful period for the 32-year-old American, still burly despite shedding just over two stones in recent months. His previous tournaments were unproductive and not a fair reward for how he felt he played.

Since Vancouver his only golf has been a mixed shoot-out in Bermuda last week when he partnered Britain's former world No 1 Laura Davies. "We had a real good time but other than that I haven't played any tournaments," Daly said.

In the wake of the Vancouver episode, Daly suggested he might not turn up here to join the US team. "I wouldn't help Tiger [Woods] and Mark [O'Meara] right now. I'd only be hurting the team," he said at his lowest point.

England could be unseeded in the competition, which begins tomorrow. The draw will be made at St Andrews today, and England will be hoping to be spared a meeting with the United States trio.

Using the world rankings of the top two players in each side the eight seeds would be the US, Australia, Zimbabwe, Spain, Scotland, South Africa, New Zealand and Sweden.

A week ago England would have edged out Sweden for the eighth spot and would therefore have been in the same group as America. But although Lee Westwood's victory in Belgium moved him up from ninth to eighth in the world, Peter Baker went down from 104th to 112th and David Carter stayed at 120th. It means England will go into the hat along with the other nations taking part - Ireland, Argentina, China, France, Germany, Japan and South Korea.

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