Fred Daly (golfer)

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Fred Daly
Personal information
Full nameFrederick J. Daly
Born(1911-10-11)11 October 1911
Portrush, County Antrim, Ireland
Died18 November 1990(1990-11-18) (aged 79)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Sporting nationality Northern Ireland
Professional wins28
Best results in major championships
(wins: 1)
Masters TournamentDNP
PGA ChampionshipDNP
U.S. OpenDNP
The Open ChampionshipWon: 1947

Frederick J. Daly, MBE (11 October 1911 – 18 November 1990) was a Northern Irish professional golfer, best known for winning The Open Championship in 1947 at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake. Born in Portrush, County Antrim, he was the first Irishman from either side of the border to win the Open and the first to play in the Ryder Cup. He remained the only Irish winner of the Open until Pádraig Harrington won it in 2007 and the only Northern Irish major winner until Graeme McDowell won the U.S. Open in 2010.

Early life[edit]

Daly was born in Causeway Street, Portrush on 11 October 1911, the son of Daniel and Anne Daly. His father was a blacksmith. He was the youngest of their six children. He attended a Public Elementary School in Portrush.[1]

Golf career[edit]

Gravestone in Portrush

Daly was first at Mahee Island Golf Club from 1931 before moving to Lurgan Golf Club in 1934, staying there until 1939.[1] He started competing in domestic Irish events in 1936. He competed in the Irish Open, where he missed the cut, and two weeks later, winning the Ulster Professional Championship, beating Ernie Patterson in the final. At the end of the season he was selected to play for Ireland in their annual match against Scotland. He halved his foursomes match and lost in the singles but Ireland won the match convincingly.[2]

Daly represented Ireland in the Triangular Professional Tournament in 1937 and Llandudno International Golf Trophy in 1938. In early 1939 he moved to the City of Derry Golf Club. Later in 1939 Daly was runner-up in the Irish Professional Championship and fifth in the Irish Open, the leading Irish player.[3]

Domestic Irish events continued during World War II and Daly won both the Ulster Professional Championship and the Irish Professional Championship in 1940.[4] In 1943 Daly was runner-up in the Irish Professional Championship behind Harry Bradshaw and he won the Ulster Championship again in 1941, 1943 and 1944.[5] Daly moved from the City of Derry club to Balmoral Golf Club at the start of 1944.[1]

Immediately the war was over, Daly embarked on his tournament professional career. In September 1945 he travelled to Scotland, for the Daily Mail Tournament, played on the Old Course at St Andrews. Daly finished joint third behind Charlie Ward and could have been higher but for a 7 at the 14th hole of his final round.[6] Daly played his first full season of tournament golf in 1946. The highlight of the season was winning the Irish Open at Portmarnock Golf Club, where he finished four ahead of Bobby Locke, becoming the first Irish winner. He was also fourth in the Spalding Tournament on the Old Course, winner of the Ulster Professional Championship, tied for 8th in the Open Championship, winner of the Irish Professional Championship, quarter-finalist in the News of the World Match Play, tied for fifth in the Dunlop Masters and finished the season by winning the Irish Dunlop Tournament at the Castle Club in Dublin.[7][8][9][10]

1947 was an exceptionally successful year for Daly. He became the first Irish winner of the Open Championship, the first Irish winner of the News of the World Match Play and the first Irishman to play in the Ryder Cup. He was the first Irishman to win an important professional tournament in Great Britain. 1947 was a busy season on the British circuit with a number of new tournaments. Daly played in three events before the Open, finishing third in the Daily Mail Tournament, tied for third in the Spalding Tournament and tied for seventh in the Manchester Evening Chronicle Tournament.[11][12][13] The Open Championship was held at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake. After a first round 73, Daly scored 70, the best round of the day, to lead by four strokes. On the final morning Daly scored 78 and was in a four-way tie for the lead. Reg Horne set an early target, finishing on 294. Daly had played well on the back-9 until he took a double-bogey 6 at the 17th. Needing a par-4 at the last to tie with Horne, he holed a 10-yard putt to lead by one. The American amateur Frank Stranahan came to the last hole needing an eagle-2 to tie Daly. He nearly holed his second shot and finished tied with Horne for second place.[14] The following week Daly defended his Irish Open title. He led after two rounds but had a disappointing final day and finished tied for 4th place. Daly returned to competitive golf in September, qualifying as the Northern Ireland representative for the final stages of the News of the World Match Play. Daly won his early matches comfortably and then beat Henry Cotton in the semi-final and Flory Van Donck in the final to take the title.[15] He was just the second player, after James Braid in 1905, to win the two most important British tournaments in the same year. Daly finished the British season by competing in the Dunlop Masters, where he finished tied for 9th.

The 1947 Ryder Cup was held in early November in Portland, Oregon. Daly was one of the first seven members of the British team announced by the selection committee in early September.[16] The contest itself was very one-sided with the Americans winning 11–1. Daly was chosen for both the foursomes and singles but lost both matches heavily.

1948 was another successful season for Daly. He won three events, the Dunlop-Southport Tournament, the Penfold Tournament and the News of the World Match Play. He was runner-up in the Open Championship, behind Henry Cotton, and was also runner-up in the R A Brand Tournament, the Daily Telegraph Foursomes Tournament and the Dunlop Masters.

1949 was a less successful season, although Daly won the Manchester Evening Chronicle Tournament in June and was a runner-up in the North British-Harrogate Tournament in late-July. He was again selected for the Ryder Cup, played at Ganton Golf Club in September. Britain won the foursomes matches 3–1, with Daly winning his match, but lost the singles 6–2 to lose a close match. Daly was in the last match in the singles, playing Lloyd Mangrum. Daly was 1-up after 10 holes of the afternoon round but then lost the next five holes to lose 4&3, with Mangrum scoring 3-2-4-3-4. Daly was 8 under-4s for the 33 holes in a low scoring match.[17][18]

Daly won three more British tournaments, the Lotus Tournament in 1950 and the Daks Tournament and the News of the World Match Play in 1952. At the last-32 stage of the 1952 News of the World Match Play, Daly was involved in the longest sudden-death playoff recorded in a major British tournament, beating Alan Poulton at the 12th extra hole with a long putt for a birdie 3, the match taking over 5 hours. After a quick meal, Daly had to play his last-16 match against a young Peter Alliss, the match starting over two hours late. Daly reached the turn in 31 and beat Alliss 6&5 after an hour and 50 minutes.[19][20] He continued his success in the Open, finishing 3rd in 1950, 4th in 1951 and 3rd in 1952. He played in the 1951 Ryder Cup at Pinehurst, North Carolina in early November. The British again lost heavily in America, 9½–2½, although Daly halved his singles match against Clayton Heafner after being 3 down at lunch.

In September 1953, Daly reached the semi-final of the News of the World Match Play, losing to Dai Rees.[21] This, and his play in the trial matches, earned him a place in the 1953 Ryder Cup team at Wentworth.[22] In the foursomes Daly and Harry Bradshaw were three up at lunch against Walter Burkemo and Cary Middlecoff but the Americans reduced the lead and Daly had to hole from 3 yards at the final hole to win the match.[23] In his singles match against Ted Kroll, Daly was 6 up at lunch and eventually won 9&7 but the British team lost the match 6½–5½ after Peter Alliss and Bernard Hunt failed to win close matches.[24]

In 1955 Daly led by 6 strokes after three rounds of the five-round Dunlop Tournament at Wentworth. 36 holes were played on the final day. Daly scored 74 in the morning to retain a one shot lead from Eric Brown but took 77 in the afternoon to drop to third place behind Peter Alliss and Brown.[25]

Daly represented Ireland in the first two Canada Cup matches that they contested, in 1954 and 1955, playing with Harry Bradshaw. Christy O'Connor Snr replaced him from 1956. He also represented the British Isles in the first two Joy Cup matches in 1954 and 1955.

After reaching 50, Daly played in the Teacher's Seniors Championship at Harrogate in 1962 where he was runner-up, 2 strokes behind Sam King.[26] In the late 1960s, previous Open champions were exempted from qualifying and Daly took the opportunity to play in the Open five times between 1970 and 1976, missing the cut each time.


Daly died at his Belfast home of a heart attack at age 79. He left a wife and two children.[27][28]


Daly was awarded the MBE in the 1984 New Year Honours for services to golf.[29]

Tournament wins (28)[edit]

Important wins (10)[edit]

Date Tournament Venue Winning score Margin of
18 Jul 1946 Irish Open Portmarnock Golf Club 72-73-69-74=288 4 strokes South Africa Bobby Locke
4 Jul 1947 The Open Championship Royal Liverpool Golf Club 73-70-78-72=293 1 stroke England Reg Horne, United States Frank Stranahan (a)
27 Sep 1947 News of the World Match Play Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club 3 & 2 in final Belgium Flory Van Donck
8 May 1948 Dunlop-Southport Tournament Southport and Ainsdale Golf Club 74-74-69-73=290 Playoff Northern Ireland Ted McNeill
24 Jun 1948 Penfold Tournament Gleneagles Hotel 67-66-70-70=273 3 strokes England Ken Bousfield, Wales Dai Rees
25 Sep 1948 News of the World Match Play Royal Birkdale Golf Club 4 & 3 in final Scotland Laurie Ayton, Jnr
16 Jun 1949 Manchester Evening Chronicle Tournament Mere Golf Club 74-63-71-69=277 3 strokes Belgium Flory Van Donck
1 Sep 1950 Lotus Tournament Moortown Golf Club 70-67-72-69=278 1 stroke South Africa Bobby Locke
27 Jun 1952 Daks Tournament Wentworth Club 67-72-69-72=280 2 strokes England Jack Hargreaves
20 Sep 1952 News of the World Match Play Walton Heath Golf Club 4 & 3 in final Belgium Flory Van Donck

Other wins (18)[edit]

Major championships[edit]

Wins (1)[edit]

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin Runners-up
1947 The Open Championship Tied for lead +21 (73-70-78-72=293) 1 stroke England Reg Horne, United States Frank Stranahan

Results timeline[edit]

Tournament 1946 1947 1948 1949
The Open Championship T8 1 2 CUT
Tournament 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
The Open Championship T3 T4 3 11 T35 T12 CUT CUT T20
Tournament 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
The Open Championship
Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976
The Open Championship CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT

Note: Daly only played in The Open Championship.

  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place

Team appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Hanna, John (September 2011). "Irish Musings – Fred Daly" (PDF). (98): 18–20. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Scots professionals beaten". The Herald. Glasgow. 12 October 1936. p. 19.
  3. ^ "Mahon wins again". The Herald. Glasgow. 16 June 1939. p. 21.
  4. ^ "F. Daly". The Herald. Glasgow. 23 August 1940. p. 3.
  5. ^ "Irish Professional title retained". The Herald. Glasgow. 20 August 1943. p. 5.
  6. ^ "Ward's one stroke victory at St Andrews". The Herald. Glasgow. 22 September 1945. p. 4.
  7. ^ "Cotton's missed putt gives victory to Rees". The Herald. Glasgow. 8 June 1946. p. 4.
  8. ^ "Another title for Daly". The Herald. Glasgow. 2 August 1946. p. 6.
  9. ^ "Adams ties with Locke". The Herald. Glasgow. 11 October 1946. p. 2. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
  10. ^ "F Daly (Balmoral, Belfast)". The Times. 25 October 1946. p. 8.
  11. ^ "Rees nine strokes under level fours – Welshman wins professional tournament". The Herald. Glasgow. 24 May 1947. p. 2.
  12. ^ "Cotton wins first prize". The Herald. Glasgow. 7 June 1947. p. 6.
  13. ^ "Belgian takes golf prize". The Herald. Glasgow. 27 June 1947. p. 6.
  14. ^ "Daly first Irishman to win Open". The Herald. Glasgow. 5 July 1947. p. 5.
  15. ^ "Professional golf "double" – Daly wins match-play title". The Herald. Glasgow. 29 September 1947. p. 5.
  16. ^ "Players for the Ryder Cup". The Times. 5 September 1947. p. 2.
  17. ^ "U.S. retain the Ryder Cup". The Times. 19 September 1949. p. 6.
  18. ^ "Britain fail to match U.S. singles excellence". The Herald. Glasgow. 19 September 1949. p. 3.
  19. ^ "A record match at Walton Heath". The Times. 19 September 1952. p. 9.
  20. ^ "Locke beaten in day of golf surprises". The Herald. Glasgow. 19 September 1952. p. 7.
  21. ^ "Rees and Faulkner meet in Match-play Golf Final – Daly out after quarter-final 68". The Herald. Glasgow. 19 September 1953. p. 9.
  22. ^ "The Ryder Cup team - Young golfers get their chance". The Times. 28 September 1953. p. 9.
  23. ^ "First blood to US – A lead of two in Ryder Cup – Brave golf by Daly and Bradshaw". The Times. 3 October 1953. p. 4.
  24. ^ "Great Britain just fail in Ryder Cup match – Last two singles tip scale in favour of U.S.". The Times. 5 October 1953. p. 3.
  25. ^ "Alliss wins at Wentworth". The Herald. Glasgow. 7 May 1955. p. 7.
  26. ^ "King again wins senior title". The Herald. Glasgow. 1 June 1962. p. 5.
  27. ^ "Fred Daly, former Open winner, dies". The Times. 19 November 1990. p. 37.
  28. ^ "Fred Daly". The Times. 20 November 1990. p. 14.
  29. ^ "No. 49583". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1983. p. 13.

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