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John Daly joins European Tour

Europe's leading golfers can kiss goodbye any hope they had of winning this year's driving distance award following the news that John Daly is to join the European Tour for the 2002 season.

The former USPGA and Open championship winner has decided to turn his back on the PGA Tour and play in Europe where he enjoyed so much success during his brief visits in the 2001 season.

Daly enjoyed top ten finishes in three of the four tournaments he played on the European Tour last year, winning the BMW International in Munich, finishing tied for second at the German Masters and third at the Scottish Open in Loch Lomond.

''John Daly has joined the European Tour on category one, as a former major winner with a 10-year exemption, while he is also eligible to play this season on category three, after winning last year's BMW International Open in Munich,'' an offical for the tour told Reuters.

Daly confirmed his presence on the Tour when arriving in Australia for the Heineken Classic at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club, adding he considered the move last season.

''For the first time, everything in my life is the way I want it,'' said Daly, who ousted Tiger Woods for the driving distance top spot in last year's statistics Stateside.

''I almost did it last year, but now I have and I think it's not only a good move on my part, but also good for golf and, hopefully, good for the European Tour.

''I've been told that Royal Melbourne should be right up my alley if I'm driving it straight so I'm looking forward to the week."

Daly topped the 2001 stats with a monstrous average drive of 321.2 yards compared to a paltry 303.5 of the European Tour's meatiest driver Angel Cabrera.

Daly's Open victory at St Andrews in 1995 gives him automatic exemption to the Tour until 2005.

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