Date: November 25, 2008
Author: Angus Morgan

Appleby: Daly is worth the risk

Stuart Appleby believes tournament organisers are taking a calculated risk by inviting John Daly to compete in the 2008 Australian Masters. But Appleby is confident there&aposll be none of the off-course dramas that have shadowed Daly throughout his career, and no repeat of the fiasco surrounding Daly&aposs first appearance at Huntingdale 16 years ago. Competing as the reigning US PGA Champion, Daly quit the course on the Sunday without signing his card after spiralling out of contention in the final round. While the 42-year-old&aposs world ranking, which stands at 603, continues to decline, his ability to attract attention, almost despite himself, remains undiminished. It&aposs this which prompted Appleby to say of Daly – “He&aposs a walking train wreck and, unfortunately, people turn their heads to watch train wrecks” – a comment to the Fairfax press that Appleby appeared keen to tone down in media interviews at Huntingdale on Tuesday. Asked whether Daly had been invited for the wrong reasons, Appleby said: “There&aposs still enough reasons.” “Look at last week, he&aposs finished top-20 (in the Hong Kong Open) and Sunday he had 62, so it&aposs still there.” “If John plays two days this week we&aposd all be disappointed but that is the risk in getting any player and John certainly has extra baggage that other players don&apost have.” “Some of that works for crowd attendances and the media and there&aposs a flipside that you don&apost get anything for free.” “If it&aposs an investment in their tournament and they feel that John is likely to be thumbs-up come Sunday then, yeah.” Appleby, who is looking for a win at Huntingdale this week to &aposvalidate&apos his year, said he had not received any feedback from Daly or a tap on the shoulder from the Tour for his &apostrain wreck&apos comment, and said he didn&apost care if he happened to be paired with Daly at the Masters. “He still is the most effortless, talented player in the world,” said Appleby of Daly. “Mix that talent with a guy who&aposs obviously had some issues off the golf course and it becomes a big story.” “I don&apost think you&aposll see the &aposbad&apos John, I think you&aposll see more of the actual John Daly who understands where he&aposs been a bit from the past.” “I&aposm not sure how much golf means to him, but for the game it would be huge if this guy could play good again because he&aposs a unique gift.” Meanwhile, Australasian Tour chairman Peter Senior, one of only two players to have competed in every Australian Masters at Huntingdale since the event was founded in 1979, has welcomed Daly&aposs inclusion in the Masters field. “Everybody&aposs got their own opinions, but I think anytime you get a guy like that in your tournament, it&aposs got to be a plus, whether they call him whatever they want,” Senior said. “I&aposve known John for a long time and he&aposs great guy.” “He may be a little misguided at times.” “He shot 62 last week so any time a tournament has him in the field is a plus.” “We&aposre very happy to get the guys that we&aposve got to come down.”