Over the last 40 years, the Old Course at St. Andrews has produced an illustrious list of British Open champions – Jack Nicklaus (twice), Tiger Woods (twice), Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, and John Daly.

Before saying the last name doesn’t fit, consider this: If the Old Course has a bias, it is toward players who hit the ball long and have creative short games. Daly has few peers in either category.

On Thursday, Daly showed his championship-level talent with an opening-round 66, which could have been significantly better had a few more putts dropped. His 6-under-par round was marked by several lip-outs.

“The way I hit my driver today, I had so many opportunities,” said Daly.

Don’t count Daly out. Even at 44 and with no wins since 2004, his talents still suit the demands of the Old Course as well as any player in the field.

A Daly victory here would not get the same treatment as Nicklaus’ turn-back-the-clock win at age 46 at the 1986 Masters. But there is a comparison to be made – a player with enormous talent, defying age, and rising on a great course that he loves.

“I just love it. I don’t know why,” said Daly. “It suits my game – just a special, special place.”