Last year Jay Haas became the oldest player to make a cut at the Zurich Classic, reaching the weekend at 68 years old. Unfortunately for John Daly and David Duval, they could not replicate that senior-circuit magic this week in New Orleans.
There’s no doubting what Daly and Duval have accomplished in their careers, with the latter reaching World No. 1 and winning the 2001 Open while the former captured two majors and flourished as one of the game’s more colourful and popular personalities. But working together at the PGA Tour’s team-centric event at TPC Louisiana proved to be a rough go. After shooting a three-over 75 in Thursday’s best ball (fourball) format, Friday’s foursomes (alternate shot) proved to be too much of an obstacle for Daly and Duval to overcome.
With Friday’s tee times moved up due to incoming storms, the pair of 50-somethings opened with three bogeys and two doubles in their first six holes en route to an opening-nine 45. Though they somewhat righted the ship on the back, it was too late, turning in an 11-over 83.
If that sounds rough, well, it is: As of writing, Daly and Duval were 14 shots behind the next nearest team and 29 shots behind the leaders with the afternoon wave still set to play their rounds as the tournament was hit with a weater delay.
To those paying attention the result is not necessarily a surprise. Duval, 51, has not made a cut on the PGA Tour since the 2014-’15 season while Daly, who turns 57 next week, has appeared in 10 PGA Tour events over the last four years, missing the cut in all 10 starts.
For those wondering how Daly and Duval were in the field, the Zurich has an unlimited number of sponsor exemptions to round out its competition. The team-centric framework is not necessarily a format liked by all PGA Tour players, and the fact the event does not award Official World Golf Ranking points does not help.
The Zurich was also hurt this year by the tour’s new designated-event series, as many stars passed on the New Orleans event after playing at the Masters and RBC Heritage. Though a case can be made that up-and-coming Korn Ferry Tour players should get the nods ahead of two de facto retirees, the truth is it’s not necessarily easy to find 160 players to compete. Throw in Daly’s popularity and Duval’s name recognition and you have an idea of why these former stars were in the event.