Memphis, TN - John Daly will play in his first PGA TOUR event of the 2009 season at next month's St. Jude Classic (SJC), June 8-14, at TPC Southwind.
Daly, 43, accepted a sponsor exemption to play in the event after multiple starts on the European Tour during the past month. What could be considered a hometown event for Daly, this year will mark the 12th consecutive year he has competed in the tournament and his 19th overall appearance in the Memphis event. His first career start on the PGA TOUR came in the 1989 Memphis tournament when he also entered the tournament on a sponsor's exemption.
"I appreciate the tournament granting me a sponsor's exemption, and I'm looking forward to returning to Memphis for my first US start in 2009," said Daly. "I've always enjoyed playing TPC Southwind. The Memphis fans always get me pumped up to play my best."
Long recognized for his prodigious drives and soft touch around the greens, "Big John" shot-putted into the golfing world by winning the 1991 PGA Championship at Crooked Stick in Carmel, IN. He added another major to his collection when he captured the 1995 British Open at St. Andrews in a dramatic playoff victory over Constantino Rocco.
"John Daly's connection to Memphis is undeniable and he has a long history of supporting the St. Jude Classic," said SJC executive director Kevin Krisle. "John has a lot of fans rooting for him on and off the golf course."
Daly will join many major winners in the St. Jude Classic field including; Padraig Harrington, Retief Goosen, defending champion Justin Leonard, Memphian Shaun Micheel, Rich Beem, two-time Memphis winner David Toms, David Duval, the 2009 Masters champion Angel Cabrera, and Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal, who was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame earlier this week. Sergio Garcia and Camilo Villegas also recently committed giving the SJC five of the top 10 on the Official World Golf Rankings. Spain's Garcia is ranked third, while Villegas of Medellin, Colombia is ranked tenth.
In other news, officials have announced that the first two days of the tournament - Monday and Tuesday, June 8-9 - will be free admission to all spectators. In addition, children 15 and under are admitted free all week when accompanied by a ticketed adult. For more information on the St. Jude Classic, visit www.stjudeclassic.com.