Daly has weighty new problem

2010-11-16 12:44

Hong Kong - Off-form double major champion John Daly revealed on Monday his massive weight loss has been affecting his short game as he no longer has love handles to use as elbow rests when he is putting.

The 44-year-old American, who tees off at the Hong Kong Open golf tournament on Thursday, tipped the scales at a portly 318 pounds (145kg) last year but has shed more than a third of his body weight, slimming to a svelte 195 pounds (90kg).

"The biggest problem has been the putter," said Daly, who goes into the event placed at a lowly 563th in the world, having failed to finish inside the top 20 in 24 ranking events this year.

"I have nowhere to put my elbows. I used to be able to put my elbows right on my love handles and that was pretty good. Now they are all over the place."

Daly, a former British Open and PGA champion, takes on an all-star cast at the $2.5 million tournament in the southern Chinese metropolis, the penultimate event of the European year.

"It's been a tough year with injuries," he said. "I've had my shoulder popped back in place probably five times this year and I had it popped again before I came over.

"The ball strike has been great but the putter has let me down a lot this year. I've probably made more cuts on tour this year than ever, I just didn't do anything on the weekends."

Daly reportedly underwent gastric band surgery in February 2008 to reduce the size of his stomach and consequently the amount he could eat.

"It's taken a while to get used to this but I know it's for the better for me and hopefully the results will show pretty soon," he said.

Daly said his friend, stadium-packing country music giant Kenny Chesney, had encouraged him with the health regime at the US Country Music Awards earlier this year.

"He said to me, 'Dang, JD -- you've lost the Backstreet Boys'. He hadn't seen me in quite a while."

Despite poor recent form, Daly remains popular with golf galleries for his "Wild Thing" tag, his colourful dress sense and his prodigious driving off the tee.

Colin Montgomerie, Miguel Angel Jiménez and Grégory Bourdy are among the cast of former European champions playing in Hong Kong.

Last year Bourdy finished ahead of Rory McIlroy to become the first Frenchman to win the event since its inception in 1959.

The UBS Hong Kong Open is co-sanctioned by the European Tour, the Asian Tour and the Hong Kong Golf Association.