Category Archives: Golf

DeadCast: Balls! 12

Aaron and Duncan chat about the return of Tiger Woods, with particular reference to the creeping racism of the Augusta establishment. We also discuss Steve Price’s slide from sainthood, the Warriors slip up at Manly and NZ Swimming’s embarrassing disconnect between the hype and the results. BALLS! 012 by Deadball


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Filed under DeadCast, Golf, NRL, Rugby league

John Daly: A Deadball Icon

John Daly topless

“I never liked to read, and I didn’t see the point. Shakespeare sucked.”

John Patrick Daly is not one of world’s great intellectual forces, but he sure can hit a golf ball a long way. Over the past couple of decades his renegade influence has played a large role in having golf shed its image as a sport of the monied elite, and in between extended bouts of alcoholism, losing tens of millions of dollars on pokies and four tumultuous marriages he has remained one of the most popular golfers in the world.

It’s the combination of a loud, borderline insane personal life and frequently breathtaking golf which has endeared him to fans, and after the first round of The Open Championship at Turnberry he sat at two under, four shots off the lead, and yet again had the chance to prove the doubters wrong and his own self right. He closed out with three straight rounds of 72, fading from contention. But for golfers arrested outside Hooters by the Winston-Salem police less than a year ago he was unchallenged at the top of the leaderboard.

Daly loves playing golf in Scotland – anyone watching overnight (thanks, jetlag!) would have noted that the crowds only wake up for a truly miraculous shot. Bunker it at Turnberry and only the bitter wind will whistle in your ears. He considers them the purest golf fans in the world, and has rewarded them with a truly heroic playing ensemble. Even granted that golfers aren’t known as the prettiest of athletes, his garb throughout The Open was pretty outlandish.

Daly green_phixr

Having noted that, atop the leaderboard after the first round sat Miguel Angel Jimenez after a scorching 64, and he looks like the kind of guy who made Creasy Bear so angry in  Man on Fire.

Man on Fire Jimenez

Anyway, so he might be in a tight two-way tussle for ugliest man in the tournament, he also has no right to even be playing golf at this point. Daly’s life is a catalogue of misfortunes as long as your arm, and for every triumph there have been at least five disasters to offset it.

Growing up in Dardanelle, Arkansas, golf was an escape from an alcoholic father who would one day pull a gun on his son in a stupor, and a mother absent more often than not. Daly and his brother Jamie raised themselves as soon as the latter could be considred a babysitter for his younger sibling, with the Daly brothers opening up the family ranch for all-night keg parties from their mid-teens, which their parents never picked up on upon their return due to John’s extreme OCD cleaning tendencies.

He could always hit a golf ball a long way, but started working on his short game by chipping his way round a baseball diamond. It was this kind of dedication which garnered the man a scholarship to the University of Arkansas. The coach there presciently noted that even then, Daly was a little overweight (his pre-round meal to this day remains multiple McMuffins), and told him to start smoking Marlboro Lights as an appetite suppressant, and switch Jack Daniels and diet coke from beer.

He’s attended rehab twice for alcoholism, smokes at least two packs a day, and ealier this year had stomach-limiting lap-band surgery, so that prescription obviously worked out real well for him. His lovelife has been scarcely less extreme, with his second wife Bettye turning out to be a decade older than she had told him (and have a 14-year-old son – this when Daly was still in his twenties), and fourth wife Sherrie (unconventional spellings should be a red flag for Daly) attacked him with a steak knife in 2007, resulting in him playing the second round of Memphis’ Stanford St Jude championship with his face even less pretty than usual.

Picture 48

If he was just a marginal professional (he’s ranked 414 in the world as of today), this would be just a tragic story, but Daly had won two majors before he turned thirty, including a heartstopping PGA Championship in 1991, which he started as ninth alternate. He was the longest driver on the US PGA Tour for more than a decade, has amassed 19 titles as a professional, and when his game is working he has a subtlety around the green which belies his boorish image.

That’s certainly important to his fans, but equally attractive to his rabid, establishment-baiting newfound golf fans is his unashamedly hillbilly lifestyle. He travels by a US$1.5m custom tour bus, rather than squeeze himself onto domestic plane seats and put up with hours without a cigarette between his lips. He’s recorded country albums, with songs like All My Exes Wear Rolexes, and has seen Dead Solid Perfect and Caddyshack (his favourite golf movies) over 70 times between them.


He’s like a regular guy who won the lottery, only the ticket keeps paying out. So he buys a house in Colorado on a whim and hangs out with the Denver Broncos (and also has a Madden card from his fame explosion in ’91 due to place kicking during an NFL game), lost US$50m when they installed pokies in Vegas that let you crank through $5k at a time, and his fourth wife and her family have all done Federal time for drug trafficking (while he was married to her). Plus he’s a big time rooter: “I want to have sex three or four times a day. I mean, I’m horny all the time.”

Keep that image in your mind, kids. He last won on the PGA Tour in ’04, has lost his long driving title to the likes of Bubba Watson, and most things in his life seem to be pointing to a gradual fade from the limelight. But with Daly you feel like the moment he’s counted out is the one he’ll pick to come storming home. He finished second in the Italian Open this year, and tied for 27th at The Open. The tummy tuck seems to have reinvigorated him, along with his wardrobe, and something about his character, the things he’s endured and survived convinces me he’s got one more triumph in him.

Even if he doesn’t, he’s made golf bearable, and played as a big a part as Tiger in breaking its historic class/race barriers. And for all the madness and bewildering moves he’s made in his personal life – he might be the most confounding figure in all sports over the last couple of decades – you can’t help but love the guy. If nothing else, you have to respect a guy who wandered out onto the hallowed fairways of the PGA Tour in the early ’90s looking like this.



– Duncan


Filed under Dead Ball Icons, Golf

New Zealand's Next Top Model Fixed Price Odds

"I'm not a stripper, so I didn't go anywhere near that dirty pole."

"I'm not a stripper, so I didn't go anywhere near that dirty pole."

In honour of this week’s non-entity recap episode, featuring about 30 seconds of unseen footage and a whole lot of reiterating what the hardcore ALREADY KNOW, we’ll do a similar thing with the Power Rankings this week. Because I know what you teenagers get up to when NTM isn’t on, and I can’t let the first ever copy of New Zealand Truth Weekly I’ve ever bought go to waste.

Basically this post will attempt to emulate the recap by synthesising the first five weeks of competition into one, and extrapolating the chances of wining the big prize based on that. While the Power Rankings lean heavily on that week’s episode, with a Hollinger-esque ratio taking into account previous wins, momentum and potential upside, the fixed price odds are less results driven than that, based entirely on the remaining models’ chances of actually winning the whole thing.

1. Christobelle $3.50

Watching the recap you got a sense of just how stealthy Christobelle’s rise to favouritism has been. In the early episodes she was just another frivolous, pretty young thing, cracking jokes and cruising through. It was only with the makeover that you got a sense of how bad she wants it, and the way she turned the disappointment into a victory straight afterward pointed at the steel behind those doe eyes. DeadBall can reveal that The Truth’s screaming headline “TV CATFIGHT” uncovered little save a spoiler alert regarding the two finalists (predictable, and almost certainly conjecture). Apparently poor Christobelle’s parents are divorcing, though quite how the juxtaposition of her and the number two on this list with the word ‘catfight’ related to the piece is beyond me. I just hope all those amazing headlines regarding Vice Girls in the past had more substance behind them. In any case, the main reveal was that C-Belle’s surname is Grierson-Ryrie, which sounds appropriately posh I reckon.

Key quote: “I think it was quite mean of me to not care that Hosanna was crying. But I had more important things on my mind.”– Christobelle on Michael Hill Jeweler shoot

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Filed under Awards, Golf, News

Touched By An Angel


Coming to write this I was a little shocked to realise that we’ve not written about golf directly yet here at DeadBall. Shocking because it sorta feels like the biggest sport in the world when you’re watching it, and also the most democratic. How else could you explain the three Jesse Ryders going at it down the stretch for the Masters this morning?

Angel Cabrera, Chad Campbell and Kenny Perry average 41 years of age and 104 kilos. Take professional golf away from them and they’re just a trio of bypasses waiting to happen. But this morning they combined for a finish to a major sporting event as good as any we’ll see this year, and for all the sheer exhileration of Tiger storming home to win a Masters, there’s something heartwarming about watching three regular-looking guys trying to keep it together with the weight of the world on their shoulders.

I think maybe the funnest part of the championship was everything from the 17th hole on, when it seemed like all three were doing everything in their power to lose the green jacket (jncidentally, is that the weirdest prize in pro sports? a jacket you couldn’t possibly wear anywhere apart from the golf course where you won it? I want a replica real bad). As soon as Perry realised he had a two-shot buffer, it’s like Cabrera and Campbell gave up, while Perry himself just went to pieces in the most heartrending fashion. It was only when they got within 20 metres or so of the hole and realised that the thing was on the table for all three that they played some shots of quality. And the first playoff hole was even crazier. Continue reading


Filed under Golf, News

Brendan Telfer: A DeadBall Icon

This is a profile I wrote of my favourite New Zealand sports journalist as student a few years back. As a result it’s probably a little over-weaning and dated, but I think it still gets to the heart of why when there’s a big sporting issue there’s no one I’d rather hear attacking it than Brendan Telfer. No one wanted to publish it at the time. I guess Telf’s not glamourous enough.

The Old Campaigner


A profile of Brendan Telfer – previously unpublished, from 2005.

By Duncan Greive

“I think we’ve had it with John O’Neill. If he can’t be bothered to answer his phone when he says he will then he can stick his A-League somewhere in his flash hair-do or something.”

Brendan Telfer is furious, in his mild-mannered way. The chief of Australian soccer has just reneged on a second scheduled interview in two days, leaving Morning Sport with a gaping hole in its schedule to fill. However unlike other Radio Sport hosts; in fact unlike almost anyone else working in broadcasting today; restraint is the word. This journalistic throwback rebels by his very orthodoxy. Where all around him radio hums with risqué comments, stings and sponsors, heat and flash, Brendan Telfer is calm, measured and very much of the Old School. Continue reading


Filed under Athletics, Community, Cricket, Dead Ball Icons, Golf

DeadBall Awards: The Biggest Choke of 2008

It was a good year for choking. The greatest choker of them all, Greg Norman even sealed the year by upping his record for turning 54 hole leads in the majors to 72 hole losses to six. Because he’s 53 we can’t give him the trophy*, and it was pretty amazing that he even got into position, but to close out with a 77 on the final day of the British Open shows that Norman can still choke with the best of them.

Anther great choke came from the Melbourne Storm, who won the NRL’s minor premiership then shambled through the playoffs, losing to an inspired Warriors side and then getting pantsed 40-0 by Manly in the final. In the US, it was hard to go past the Patriots passing up a chance at joining the ’72 Dolphins in the history books as they parlayed an 18-0 season into a Superbowl loss against wild cards the Giants. The only thing that saved them was the manner of their defeat, beaten by a moment of genius.

But for New Zealand sports fans there was only one truly great choke this year, and the title couldn’t have gone to a nicer team… Continue reading

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Filed under Awards, Golf, NFL, Rugby league

The Jersey vs. The Individual


Steve Williams, perhaps New Zealand’s highest paid non-sporting athlete, drunk a little too much at a charity event the other day. Ended up calling Phil Mikelson a “prick“. He also relayed a particularly embarrassing story regarding Mickelson’s man boobs. When defending his statement Williams remained oddly cavalier, stating, “I don’t particularly like the guy myself. He pays me no respect at all and hence I don’t pay him any respect. It’s no secret we don’t get along, either.”

Switch tack to the Black Caps. Our good friend Craig McMillan has called Jacob Oram out for being “wrapped in cotton wool“. Oram latter delivered a terse response,  like a refined character from a F. Scott Fitzgerald novel .  “I understand people who have never bowled a ball in anger in their lives having a bit of a go at me for potentially being on the soft side, but it’s extremely disappointing to come from an ex-teammate,” he said. After which he sighed, took a sip of whiskey and turned his attention to the guests at the dinner party.  Seems like a dark cloud has descended over the gentleman sports. I say,  good show!

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Filed under Cricket, Golf, News, Rugby