John Daly, a two-time major champion and subject of a reality TV show, has accepted a sponsor’s exemption to compete in the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, May 24-30 in Fort Worth.
It will mark the first Colonial appearance since 1999 by Daly, winner of the 1991 PGA Championship and 1995 British Open.
Tournament officials said today that Daly also has agreed to play in the Monday pro-am during tournament week.
“Obviously, there’s a Q-rating there,” said Peter Ripa, Colonial tournament director. Indeed, Daly is the only non-exempt member of the PGA Tour with his own reality TV show: Being John Daly, which airs on The Golf Channel.
Other sponsor’s exemptions announced today went to Martin Flores, a PGA Tour rookie and Mansfield High School graduate, and Matt Every, winner of the 2006 Ben Hogan Award. With the latest round of commitments, which inculdes pledges from Robert Allenby, Billy Mayfair and Yuta Ikeda, the Colonial field stands at 92 players.
Included are commitments from all four of the reigning major champions: Phil Mickelson (Masters), Lucas Glover (U.S. Open), Stewart Cink (British Open) and Southlake resident Y.E. Yang (PGA Championship). The last time the Colonial field included all four major champions was in 1995.
Chuck Scherer, Colonial tournament chairman, said he was “very excited” to extend a sponsor’s exemption to Daly, 43, who has five career victories at PGA Tour events but none since 2004.
“I think his book of work absolutely deserves it,” Scherer said. “This is a guy that brings a lot of excitement to the crowd. He’s won two majors. He’s won multiple other tournaments. So we thought, ‘What can we do to help him get back on track?’ We decided to give him an exemption.”
_ Jimmy Burch