John Daly will play in the European Tour’s Alfred Dunhill Championship this week as he comes back from elbow surgery.
The two-time major winner is in the field at Leopard Creek Golf Club near Kruger National Park in northern South Africa for only his second tournament since an operation in July to repair a shattered tendon in his right elbow.
The American got off to a promising start at last month’s BMW Masters in his return to golf, before fading over the weekend to finish 5 over and in a tie for 48th.
”I’m really fresh and I want to play,” Daly said Monday. ”I don’t want to waste the end of this year. I’d like to get something going for the end of this year so I can get on track for next year.”
Daly returns to South Africa for the first time since the early 1990s, when he won a couple of tournaments to kick-start his career.
It’s been nearly a decade since the 1991 PGA Championship winner and `95 British Open champion won on the U.S. or European tours, but he showed encouraging signs at the BMW Masters in China by opening with a 68.
He goes up against 2011 Masters winner Charl Schwartzel and Brendon de Jonge this week, but the Leopard Creek course could suit him.
”It’s a ball striker’s golf course,” Daly said after his first look at the layout. ”You’ve got to hit the fairways. And the greens are tricky. It’s the kind of course where you’d almost prefer a 20-footer to a 10-footer on these greens.”
The Alfred Dunhill is the second of three straight tournaments in South Africa to start the new European season and the 2014 Race to Dubai.
Morten Orum Madsen won the South African Open on Sunday, while Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Schwartzel and De Jonge are part of a 30-man field at the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City on Dec. 5-8.