What if you could turn back time? What if you could go back to 1991, when an unknown 9th alternate won the PGA Championship?
When John Daly teed off this morning wearing his Attababe slacks by Loudmouth, the number of volunteer marshals dressed in their Carolina Blue and quite modest by comparison golf shirts out numbered the fans in the bleachers 3-1. Those on hand gave polite applause at Daly's introduction and again after his tee shot found the center of the fairway.
Yet no one expected much more excitement from the former PGA and Open Champion than his pants.
Daly had won the 1991 PGA in Cinderella fashion and three years later the (British) Open, after which his life turned a corner and wandered down a dark alley of divorce, heavy drinking and other missteps.
The hole marshal standing next to me had asked the same question I'd been asked at least 3 times this week, "Does Daly have a permanent exemption?" The answer I gave him, "he doesn't have an exemption, rather as past champion he has "qualified" already."
Daly's first birdie was witnessed by only a handful of patrons, but by the time John Daly made his second birdie of the day on the par 5 number 7 a pretty good sized crowd had formed. Those on hand to see his ball find the cup on number 11 for an eagle 3, were equal in number to those who followed Tiger Woods tee off on number 10.
By the end of the day, the crowd was chanting his name and for just a moment along this Carolina beach it was 1991 all over again.
Daly will start his second round on Thursday afternoon at 1:30 on the 10th tee with David Toms and Shaun Micheel. The forecast calls for hit and miss thundershowers and wind building to 13 mph by the afternoon tee time.
Can John Daly post a 67 to match his second round at The PGA Championship in 1991? One can only ask what if he does?