Fred Daly – THE BACKGROUND
With a ready charm and wit, Fred Daly was one of British and Irish golf’s most beloved figures in the first few years after the Second World War.
A former caddie at Portrush, the Ulsterman is purported never to have had a golf lesson but that didn’t stop him from winning three British Matchplay championships and also from claiming the ultimate prize in 1947.
Sam Snead said Daly was “one of the finest long iron players in the game, he could knock your hat off with a one iron at 220 yards”.
After a third-round 78 dropped him into a tie with Henry Cotton, Arthur Lees and Norman Von Nida at Royal Liverpool, Daly’s hopes were hindered with a four-over-par 38 on the front nine. But he gamely dug deep and, thanks to a birdie at the last, posted a score of 293 – or 21-over-par.
It edged him a shot clear of Reg Horne, whose putt for a three on the 18th had earlier lipped out. That left the American amateur Frank Stranahan as the last player left out on the course who could catch Daly.
A three putt at the 17th left Stranahan needing a two at the last to match Daly. He came very close, his approach stopping less than a foot from the hole but Daly became the first Irish winner of the Open in its 76th staging.
His joy was obvious. A popular success, he was lifted on the shoulders of the Hoylake spectators in celebration and picked up £150 for winning the Claret Jug. It was Daly’s only Major title. He would finish second in 1948 and post three other top-10 finishes in the next four years.