Originally created 08/14/04

Daly's Ryder hopes dashed



HAVEN, Wis. - John Daly might have been the landslide winner in a USA Today poll for a captain's pick into the Ryder Cup.

The captain, however, isn't planning to please the masses.

Hal Sutton, the U.S. Ryder Cup team captain, essentially ruled out Daly as a member of the team that will play Europe at Oak Hill on Sept. 17-19. Sutton will announce his two captain's picks Monday morning after the top 10 places are solidified.

"John knew he needed a good tournament this week and he finished last yesterday," Sutton said Friday. "I'd only be picking him to spike the crowd. ... The rest of the world wants to lean on popularity. Popularity is immaterial to me."

Daly surged to 20th in the Ryder Cup standings after a runner-up finish at the Buick Open two weeks ago and prompted a surge in speculation that one of the most volatile and endearing personalities in golf might finally get a chance to represent the United States in an international team event.

Daly needed to finish at least in a tie for fourth this week to qualify on points. But his opening round 9-over-par 81 was tied for the worst in the field of 156 players and ruined any chance he had of even making the cut. He shot 76 on Friday and finished at 157, 13-over-par.

Daly accrued 63.2 percent of the vote in a USA Today poll while 50-year-old Jay Haas was second choice at 12.4 percent. Haas is currently 10th in the standings and is in the hunt for more at the PGA.

Sutton still wouldn't tip his hand as to who he is planning to pick, though he indicated that the picture was getting clearer after Friday's cut.

"At the end of the today we might be able to rule out a few people," Sutton said.

One of those players might be Jerry Kelly, who fell from 10th to 11th in points this week. Kelly struggled to rounds of 76-77 at the PGA in his home state, missing his first cut in 20 events this season.

HOWELL STAYS UNDER PAR: On a leaderboard dominated by heavyweights, one of golf's most talented lightweights is lurking just off the pace at Whistling Straits.

With his 12th consecutive made cut in a major, Augusta native Charles Howell has himself positioned again to make a run at his first major victory. He shot 71 on Friday to climb to 3-under 141 at the midway point of the PGA Championship.

Despite breaking par for the second straight round and moving up nine places on the leaderboard, Howell lost a stroke on the leaders. Tied for 14th, he's six strokes behind the major-champion duo of Vijay Singh and Justin Leonard.

Howell needs at the very least a top-four finish to even have a chance to reach the top-10 in Ryder Cup points and an automatic invitation to the U.S. team. Sutton indicated that Howell's relatively average performance this year would lead him to look at somebody else for a captain's pick should Howell not make it in on points.

Leaving early: Frank Lickliter, who shot 80 in the first round, informed PGA officials Friday morning before his round began that he was pulling out, and did not specify a reason.