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Daly returns from injury for Alfred Dunhill Championship

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The Canadian Press
11/25/2013 9:37:24 AM
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MALELANE, South Africa -- 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 to repair a shattered tendon in his right elbow.

The American made a promising start at last month's BMW Masters on his return to golf before falling away over the weekend to finish 5 over and in a tie for 48th.

"I had my surgery done in July and have only played one tournament in four months," Daly said Monday. "I'm really fresh and I want to play. 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 also said that he had seen elephants near where he's staying on the edge of Kruger and "woke up to a cobra this morning."

"For us being from America you see that kind of stuff in the movies and seeing it live is just incredible," he said.

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.

"This is where I got my start," Daly said. "I played really good on the (South African) Sunshine Tour for 1987 through to 1990 and it got my career going. I played really well over here and it got my confidence going, so that when I went back home it actually helped me get my tour card."

It's coming up to a decade since the 1991 PGA Championship winner and '95 British Open champion won on the U.S. or European tours, but he showed promising 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.

John Daly (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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