The announcement of a new professional golf mini-tour doesn't always rate as noteworthy, but when John Daly is involved, it's easy to take notice. Even though it will soon be 30 years since the Arkansan marvel rocked the golf world with his out-of-nowhere PGA Championship win, he is still one of the rare golf figures to transcend the game. Witness "Hit it Hard," the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary about him that debuted in 2016. With Daly's endorsement, the MoBetta Golf Tour is now underway, having held its first-ever event December 9 at Troon North in Scottsdale, Ariz. One of the winners was Matt Royle, who took home $2,538 for his efforts. The interesting thing about Royle: his handicap is an overall solid but decidedly not-quite-pro-level handicap of 8.3.
That's the interesting thing about the tour: it expands the definition of pro golf to include higher handicappers, who play in their own divisions apart from the more traditional professional one. It is possible to compete and retain one's amateur status; the tour provides for the donation of prize money by those who would prefer not to turn pro. MoBetta Golf also outlines strict policies on its site that are designed to flush out, penalize and discourage sandbagging.
The initial schedule includes events from Orlando-area facilities like Mission Inn (February 27-28) and Deer Island (March 13) to a couple Colorado private clubs like Pradera (May 17) and The Pinery (July 12). Big John himself is scheduled to welcome players at the John Daly Birthday Bash event on April 26 at Old Hickory Country Club in Nashville, Tenn. If you've dreamed of playing pro golf but know you'll never have the handicap for it, the MoBetta Golf Tour may be the outlet you never knew you wanted.