POTOMAC -- A year ago, John Daly was an obscure and struggling PGA Tour rookie when he showed up for the Kemper Open. Despite his booming drives and respectable showing, barely anyone noticed.
Daly's return to the Tournament Players Club at Avenel is much like every other appearance he has made since his celebrated victory at last year's PGA Championship.
"It's so much more fun having people know who you are and rooting for you to win," Daly said. "It's something that every athlete dreams about. I don't want it to end."
Daly is more recognizable, but he is still struggling. After finishing 17th in earnings last year with $574,783 and being named Rookie of the Year, Daly is 88th on the money list with $79,355.
"My expectations are not much different [than last year]," Daly said. "I'm just trying to get into contention, be patient and consistent. I've been patient and consistent, but I haven't been in contention."
Daly has more on his mind this week than just getting into the hunt. He and his wife, Bettye, who were married in April (shortly after she had threatened a palimony suit), are expecting their first child any day.
Bettye Daly will deliver at a hospital near where they're staying, and the father-to-be hopes he isn't on the course when his daughter arrives.
* Fred Funk's first PGA Tour victory earlier this month at the Shell Houston Open gave the former University of Maryland golf coach a two-year exemption and an invitation to next year's Masters.
But his strong finish after an opening-round 74 last week at Colonial helped Funk earn enough money this year to gain him entrance into his first British Open, at Muirfield Golf Club in Scotland in July.
"I made it by about $600," said Funk, who now is 20th in earnings with $254,328. "I've never been out of the country."