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Thursday, July 2, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Daly Makes Big Changes

Thomas Bonk Los Angeles Times

In a new television commercial for Callaway, John Daly is sitting on a stool strumming a guitar. Graham Nash, of the band Crosby, Stills and Nash, walks over and tells Daly that he thought they were going to play a little.

So they do. Daly gives Nash a guitar lesson and Nash gives Daly a golf lesson.

Back in real life, the new version of John Daly says he’s at peace with himself. This a lot different from the old version, which tended to mess up a lot and cause really big headaches.

As he heads into 1998, his eighth year on the tour, Daly is lighter (his weight is down to 190), happier (he’s sober) and optimistic (“I’m hitting the ball real good.”)

These are all considered good signs for Daly, 32, who has reinvented himself so often, he should be wearing a lab coat.

It has been six years since Daly won the PGA at Crooked Stick when he showed up in a smoking jalopy, two years since he won the British Open at St. Andrews, eight months since he checked into the Betty Ford Clinic and seven months since his wife filed for divorce.

Since then, Daly withdrew from the U.S. Open, missed the cut in four of his last six tournaments, lost his endorsement deals for golf clothing and clubs and signed on with Callaway.

So what kind of year has 1997 been? A year of change, he said.

“Yeah, there’ve been a lot of changes … wife, clubs, clothes. But I’m getting back my rhythm. I just want to get back to what I did in 1991. The more I played, the more rhythm I got, the better I played.”

Daly said he will play 25 to 30 tournaments in 1998, at least five of them on the West Coast: the Bob Hope, Tucson, Phoenix, the Nissan Los Angeles Open and the Buick Invitational at La Jolla.

What we should expect from him on the course is not yet known, but there have been hints. Daly, who is playing with Fuzzy Zoeller in this weekend’s Shark Shootout, put up a 60 in a pro-am last week at Ojaia, Calif.

Off the course, Daly is trying to keep himself on the fairway and out of the rough. He attends regular Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, travels from event to event in his motor home and keeps his life together.

Paulette Daly filed for divorce when Daly was at the Betty Ford and the hurt hasn’t gone away. Daly said he still loves Paulette, but he hasn’t seen her since he got drunk and passed out in their hotel room at The Players Championship in March.

He won only $106,762 and had one top-10 finish in 1997 - at the Bob Hope, which was his first tournament of the year. That only means he has something to shoot for in 1998.

“Next year, I’m going to worry about me,” he said. “That sounds selfish, but I mean it in a good way.

“I’m living a totally new life. It’s awesome. I’ve never been so much at peace with myself.”

Sorenstam satisfied

She has won five times, nearly $1.1 million and wrapped up her second player-of-the-year award, but Annika Sorenstam still hasn’t guaranteed herself a second money title.

With only next week’s ITT LPGA Tour Championship left on the schedule, Sorenstam has won $1,107,789 and Karrie Webb has won $947,356.

If Webb wins next week, she gets $160,000, which means Sorenstam could finish no lower than fourth and keep the money title.

Webb, who has won three times this year, does have the edge on Sorenstam for the Vare Trophy for best stroke average, 70.01 to 70.08.

Sorenstam said winning tournaments is more important than winning money. “The last two years, I’ve made more money than I ever thought I could,” she said. “Money is a short-term motivator. Honor to me and prestige is far more important - the personal satisfaction of winning or shooting a super-low score.”

Duval in disguise

After winning three tournaments in a row, David Duval may be the hottest player in golf. However, not in the Shark Shootout program, where the picture with Duval’s biographical profile is of Andrew Magee.

Starting over

Since points for the 1999 Ryder Cup won’t begin to be counted until January at the Mercedes Championships, Duval earned zero points for his three consecutive tournament victories.

Norman, is that you?

Greg Norman, that noted thrillseeker, is going to drive the pace car at next year’s Indianapolis 500.

It’s nothing more than the latest episode in Norman’s continuing quest to go higher or faster or deeper. Norman has flown an F-14 Tomcat and landed it on an aircraft carrier, flown in a Phantom 4 and an F-16 and once swam in a cage next to a great white shark.

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