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'Wild Thing' Daly hoping to make Baltray's links sing

| Irish Independent |

The Wild Thing is set to play a game of patience with the Baltray links in the '3' Irish Open this week.

The two-time Major champion John Daly arrived in Dublin yesterday after his joint-second place finish in the Italian Open and immediately set off for a reconnaissance mission at County Louth golf club.

Daly played the first nine, accompanied by his caddy and friend from his native Arkansas, Kerry Lott.

His verdict: "It's going to be a patient game for me this week. I played the front nine in those windy conditions and I hit two fairways at most.

"You just have to get the line and judge the wind right as best you can. It's more a guessing game when the wind is like that. We're pretty accurate when it comes to distance in the States where it's more about target golf, but here you're talking about bounce and roll.

"There's going to be a lot of holes where you have to drop it short 40 or 50 yards and let it go on from there. The par-fives look like holes you can hit in two and the par-threes are beautiful, but there are no gimmees when the wind is blowing on a links," he said.

Daly shot 69, 69, 69, and 66 in the Italian Open for a joint runner-up spot, and credits the coaching of Rick Smith and a new putter for helping him with his consistency.

"I haven't played as consistently probably since 2004 when I won the Buick and had a lot of top-10 finishes.

"Working with Rick Smith has been the greatest blessing. We work hard on every part of the game. Rick had done a great job with Phil Mickelson and Rocco Mediate. He has a great eye for every part of the game, not just the full swing, and he's been great with me.

"Rick hasn't changed my swing, just got me to finish the backswing and hit hard on the follow through, and he has me working on the things I need to do to get better.

"The putter I used for the first time last week is just called the 'Heavy Putter.' It's made by Boccieri Golf and the idea is that it helps you release the putter through the ball. It was excellent for me last week," he said.

It's no secret that Daly is working through a PGA Tour six-months suspension that is almost over by playing in the Far East and Europe, but he's making the best of it.

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