Notebook -- Daly turning heads with colorful wardrobe
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS - John Daly used to turn heads with his crushing drives and his two major tournament wins before the age of 30.
These days, Daly still hits it a long way and still finds himself in contention from time to time, but he's more often turning heads with his wardrobe.
His colorful shirts and patterned pants, in particular, have become part of his lore. They're part of a line of clothing from LoudMouth Golf pants, a company that Daly has joined.
"I didn't have any deals with anybody,'' Daly said, "but I kind of saw an opportunity to get inside and be a partner. Not a big partner. But I'm more of a royalty guy in this field, and I have a little ownership, but it's something different.
"I like the feel and the comfort these things give. Yeah, they're loud, but they're so comfortable. Maybe I can get Jim [Justice, The Greenbrier's owner] to sell some LoudMouth here. It'd be good.''
Daly, now 44, doesn't see himself as a true trendsetter. He recalls seeing similar clothes worn by some PGA players several years ago.
"If you look back in the '60s and '70s, how many guys really were colorful back then,'' he said. "There was a lot of loud styles back then. Johnny Miller wore some pretty cool stuff.
"Anyhow, you look out now and see so many fans wearing them. So it's a business thing, but it's more fun. It's something different.''
Kuchar's W.Va. ties
Matt Kuchar expects to have a contingent of friends and family cheering him on at this week's tournament.
Kuchar's mother, Meg, was born in Huntington, and he still has some family members living in the area.
"I don't know, but I'm probably one of a few guys with some real connections here,'' Kuchar said. "My mom and a bunch of people are coming up. It's going to be a bit of a family reunion. So I have some ties there.''
Kuchar said he'd been to The Greenbrier previously for a Fourth of July visit a few years ago.
"I'm glad to be back,'' he said. "I love The Greenbrier resort. I did play [golf] here a couple years ago. I went whitewater rafting - all the things you do when you're here. It was a good trip.
"It's a great place to have a tournament. We've got two little boys, so they're excited to be here. It's kind of a working vacation to come to The Greenbrier for the week.''
Kuchar thinks the date of the Greenbrier Classic (two weeks after one major, the British Open, and two weeks before another, the PGA) has a lot to do with the decision of some of the PGA's top golfers to skip the inaugural event.
"It's a hard one to figure out,'' he said. "I think the date is such an important thing, and the golf course. It's tough with a couple big events following this - the Bridgestone Invitational World Golf event and the PGA Championship.
"You don't see many of the top guys playing three in a row very often, and with the British Open being [two weeks ago], a lot of guys take a couple weeks off, then do Bridgestone or the PGA. So it's hard to figure out what Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson or those guys are going to do. But normally, they don't play a lot between the British Open and PGA.''
Almost heavenly hills
Daly, who grew up in Arkansas, said he feels a certain kinship spending the week in the hills of West Virginia.
"It feels like home,'' he said. "There's a lot of stuff we don't have where we live, but we don't worry about it too much because everybody's so laid back. And I get that atmosphere here. Everybody's laid back. It's kind of like Arkansas.
"We don't have a professional football team and West Virginia's more like, I would say, for the Tennessee Titans or Pittsburgh Steelers or maybe New England, I don't know. But not having a pro football team, it makes the people really root for their college football team even more, and it keeps people kind of grounded.''
Daly was pleased and surprised with the amount of fan attention during the first two days of practice rounds at The Greenbrier's Old White Course.
"The fans are so great,'' he said. "I feel at home no matter where I go, but this place here ... I've got to say I've never seen that many people on a Monday pro-am in the history I've been on the Tour. I think people are eager to get the tournament going. The fans are excited about it. There was a couple thousand people on 18 when I teed off [Monday] at the pro-am, and you don't hardly see that. So that was really cool to see.
"The golf course is just in great shape. It's old, traditional ... links course. It's got the bunkers in the fairways. It's a golf course where the rough's not really high.''
Daly, among the leaders after the first round of the British Open, has made the cut in 10 of 14 events he's played in this year, but has posted just one top-25 finish.
"I'm hitting the ball all right,'' he said, "but these days I'm not scoring. I feel like I should be scoring better, but I'm giving myself opportunities to play well, and that's the big step. From the beginning of the year, I wasn't getting anything out of it and now at least I'm hitting the ball well enough. I'm giving myself the opportunity to score well. I haven't been putting very good.''
Four young golfers got the chance to be paired with a player in the Greenbrier Classic field Tuesday during the four-hole First Tee Scramble on the Old White Course.
Ryan Kissinger and Brittani White of Beckley, Kolton Cooper of Hardy, Va., and Nathaniel Begley of Oak Hill were selected to represent the First Tee of West Virginia and the First Tee Roanoke Valley. They competed for a charity purse of $10,000.
Their playing partners included Davis Love III, Jonathan Byrd, Webb Simpson and Jonathan Bartlett, the West Virginia Amateur winner.
The First Tee organization, which started in 1997, has introduced the game of golf and its values to 3.5 million participants in all 50 states.
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.