This ghastly photo of a shirtless John Daly has Game Under Repair's traffic through the roof.

So I logged on to my blog on Tuesday and noticed a tremendous spike in blog visits.

Tuesday’s traffic was more than six times the normal amount, much of it directed to a one-year-old blog post about John Daly. I investigated the situation and found out Daly has lost 115 pounds since last year. He’s shockingly thin. When you do an image search for John Daly, my blog comes up quickly. There lies the reason for the high traffic.

While working as a writer for Dave Ramsey’s website, I’ve learned a little about search engine optimization (SEO), which is basically the practice of using key words and terms to bring people to your site via search engines like Google.

I’ve used some of those tricks on my blog, but this John Daly post is quite interesting. It’s amazing how a short 200 word post I wrote in about 10 minutes over a year ago turns into the most popular all-time post on my blog.

So…thank you, John Daly. Your story about extreme weight loss has brought thousands of new visitors to my blog.

Carry on Big John.

In case you care about golf, not Tiger Woods gossip, here’s a bit of golf news for you.

The PGA Tour’s 2009 version of Q School just wrapped up.

Grizzled Tour vet Jeff Maggert told Q School to make him a sandwich. (Image: fortsonre/Flickr)

Troy Merritt led the way at -22 to take medalist honors and finish ahead of Tour veteran Jeff Maggert. Interesting that Merritt has never played in a Tour event and Maggert is the proverbial grizzled veteran with a Ryder Cup appearance on his resume.

Q School always has its share of heartbreaks and meltdowns. Just ask Joe Daley. Or read John Feinstein’s Tales from Q School.

This year’s story comes from James Hahn. Hahn needed a two putt from 65 feet (now that’s difficult) to earn his card. He left the long putt 10 feet short, missed the clinching putt by 2 feet, then proceeded to lip out his third putt.

Maggert, Neal Lancaster, J.P. Hayes, Joe Ogilvie, and Chris Riley were the former Tour players who re-earned their Tour cards. David Duval, Todd Hamilton, and Shaun Micheel were three former major champs who failed to qualify.

Click here for a list of 2009 Q School graduates.

pga logoThe PGA Tour’s version of the crappy BCS will not be changing in 2010.

Awesome!

I always have  a blast getting out the calculator during the Tour Championship to find out how many decimal points a missed four-foot putt will cost Phil Mickelson.

This is the first time since 2006 that the Tour hasn’t changed the points system. Apparently, the decision-makers didn’t even discuss changing the system at their board meetings this week.

The point system actually worked in 2009, but it still sucks. It’s an uninteresting way to end the season during a time in which the Tour is competing against the NFL and the MLB for viewers.

I’ll say it for the 9,000th time. The Fed Ex Cup needs a match play format.

The first stage of PGA Tour Q School wrapped up last week.

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Former world number one David Duval will head back to the final stage of Q School next month. (Image: requiemjp/Flickr)

Ty Tryon was one of the familiar names who advanced on to second stage, which will take place on November 18-21. The final stage of Qualifying School is scheduled for December 2-7 at Bear Lakes Country Club. David Duval is probably the most recognizable name on this year’s list of final stage participants.

In my opinion, Q School is one of the most trying events in professional sports. Guys who somehow manage to work their way through all three stages amaze me. Some top quality players, such as my friend Bryant Odom (whom I profiled last year) never make it through all three stages. It’s just that difficult. And though it’s becoming more and more common for players to earn their way on to the PGA Tour via the Nationwide Tour, Q School should always be a gateway to the Tour, as well.

If you can handle the pressure of Q School, you can handle the pressure of a Tour event. Congratulations  to all the first stage qualifers.

Sunday was the 10th anniversary of Payne Stewart’s tragic death.

I still remember where I was when I heard about Stewart being on the missing flight. At that time, I was a courier for a law firm in Atlanta, so I traveled all over the ATL delivering packages to courthouses, law firms and such.

One of my favorite driving pastimes was—and still is—listening to sports talk radio. I was listening to Atlanta’s 790 The Zone when Chris Dimino and Nick Cellini broke the news that air control had lost communication with Payne Stewart’s private plane.

Hours later, the world learned that Payne Stewart died in that tragic flight.

In the decade since Payne’s death, many in the golf world have told countless stories of his life. The PGA Tour awards “The Payne Stewart Award” each year to a player who loves golf, life, and gives back to the community like Stewart did. Pinehurst has since unveiled a life-like statue of Stewart’s unforgettable fist pump after sinking the winning putt at the 1999 U.S. Open.

In a sport where golfers drift in and out of the national scene—basking in the spotlight for the duration of one tournament, only to be forgotten about for years—Stewart’s life and legacy still impacts the golf culture a decade after his death.

If only we all would make it our goal to be remembered like Payne Stewart.

Seriously, who won?

Okay, I’ll google it and find out.

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This guy is Martin Laird. (Image: rjdudley/Flickr)

Ah, yes, I see that Martin Laird won Justin Timberlake’s tournament, picking up his first victory and earning a two-year exemption to the Tour.

Nicely done.

That’s the cool thing about these fall tournaments. The guys who are struggling have the opportunity to come out of nowhere and pick up a win against usually weaker fields.

How cool must it be to have your life change over the course of four days? Forget about Q School. Forget about Nationwide. Welcome to the big time, Martin Laird.

As you’ve guessed, I did not watch a single shot from this weekend’s tournament. To be honest, I generally struggle with maintaining interest in watching golf on television during this time of the year. Too much football.

Thank you Georgia for a win against Vanderbilt. Thank you Atlanta Falcons for a national television win over Chicago last night. Oh, Atlanta Falcons, how I wish your defensive coordinator, Brian VanGorder, could freelance for his former employer Mark Richt.

But this is a golf blog. So I need to talk golf, even this time of year. Expect Golf Pet Peeve #8 to appear later this week. If we have anything during golf’s off-season, it’s year-round pet peeves.

I have quite a few pet peeves to write during the dead season of golf. Either that or more running stories, and—this being a golf blog and all—I’m sure you don’t want to hear about my upcoming marathon training. Nah.

Back to golf.

On Friday, the International Olympic Committee will announce whether or not golf will become an Olympic sport in the 2016 Games in Brazil.

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Brazilians expected to party for weeks if golf is included in the 2016 games. (Image: Pan American News/Flickr)

Basically, IOC voting members need to believe that golf’s top players will compete in the Olympics. These guys won’t approve golf if they believe the Olympics will be second fiddle to The Masters or British Open.

Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington have already committed to playing—assuming neither is retired in 9 years.

Under the current proposal, 60 golfers would compete in the men’s and women’s tournaments. The top 15 in the world would automatically qualify. Just sounds like another tournament to me. Why not make this match play. I loves me some match play.

Apparently, there’s also an argument out there that the game is too “elitist” to be included in the Summer Olympics. Hogwash, I say. If the Olympics don’t mind including the equestrian—complete with athletes in top hats and fancy pants—then I think golf is the furthest thing from “elitist.”

Golf is an extremely accessible sport, and that should not stop it from being included in the 2016 Games. If Tiger’s in, why not?