Daly big wildcard for tournament officials

John Daly is batting .500 thus far in his pursuit of sponsors exemptions for 2010.

Awarded one into the season’s first full-field tournament, the Sony Open in Hawaii (Jan. 14-17), Daly was bypassed into the next week’s stop, the Bob Hope Classic.

Instead, tournament officials of the annual “Hope” announced their at-large exemptions had gone to Rocco Mediate, David Duval, former NCAA Champion Jamie Lovemark, and Sam Saunders, whose legendary grandfather, Arnold Palmer, won this tournament five times.

In addition, restricted exemptions were given to Steve Elkington and Billy Mayfair, while two mandatory spots to Q-School graduates went to Rickie Fowler and Joe Ogilvie.

It has also been announced that Mayfair will be in the Waste Management Phoenix Open (Feb. 25-28) via an exemption.

With a lengthy list of notable names not being fully exempt in 2010 (Duval, Mediate, Elkington, Mayfair, Tim Herron, Chris DiMarco, and Shaun Micheel, just to name a few), tournament directors face a tough assignment. And to no one’s surprise, Daly remains the ultimate wildcard.

That is, you are either hot or cold with him, and the fact that he’s 1-for-2 thus far is no shock. While it’s almost certain that such a trend will continue, but David Rauch, tournament director of the wildly-attended stop at TPC Scottsdale, concedes he counts himself in the “hot” category when it comes to Daly.

“He’s hard to ignore,” Rauch said.

No argument there, but those on the other side of the issue find it hard to ignore Daly’s penchant for leaving tournaments early. For the record, since 1990, Daly has withdrawn or been disqualified from an astounding 39 Tour events.

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