Entries in John Daly (5)


The fans still chant for John Daly

By Art Spander

NAPA,  Calif. — His game? Well, John Daly made the cut in a regular PGA Tour event for the first time in two years, didn’t he? His fame? Just listen to those fans. “Daly, Daly, Daly,” they chanted as he walked out of the scoring trailer.

They love him. Still and always. At age 52, perhaps more curiosity than competitor, although since he will play all four rounds at the Safeway Open — and people such as Keegan Bradley and D.A. Points will not — John is far from a relic.

He was given an exemption. He gave the sponsors an attraction.

Daly and Phil Mickelson were the most recognizable golfers in the field at Silverado Country Club. Phil, four back of first-place Tyler Duncan with a round to go, has an outside chance for a win. John has a great chance to keep the crowd engaged.

We know the pain he’s put others through, put himself through, the alcoholism, the domestic spats, It wasn’t that long ago down in Winston-Salem when sheriffs brought him in, although they didn’t charge him. Here, sheriffs from Napa County serve as his protection on course.

Can’t be too careful with your stars. And for better or worse, with that tempestuous history, with those garish (and copyrighted) Loudmouth trousers, with golf still seeking to expand its audience in these post-Tiger days, Daly remains a star.

He may be a regular on the Champions (seniors) Tour. He may have been at the other end of the Saturday groupings, with Ted Potter Jr. and Martin Piller last off the 10th tee. No matter. He was John Daly, winner of the 1991 PGA Championship and the 1995 British Open — and with his reputation and personality, the common man’s links hero.

Grip it and rip it. That was the Daly mantra. Isn’t that what every golfer tries to do? Not a lot of grace or subtlety. Just like John.

“People were awesome,” said Daly about his trip around the course. He shot a one-under 71, his second straight sub-par round, and is at a cumulative two-under 214.

“I got a lot of offers to have a beer.”

John is the guy next door, except this guy next score can hit the ball more than 300 yards and, when things go right, display a putting touch that belies his size (uhm, is 320 pounds a fair estimation?) and helped him birdie the 18th hole Friday to make the cut on the number, one-under 143.

He’s never been qualified or chosen to make America’s Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup teams, which in the selection process may be more intent than oversight. Golf people have not taken kindly to Daly’s lifestyle — although they love the way he brings in spectators.

Daly is a cottage industry. His web site advertises “Daly’s Deals,” offering everything from those flowered trousers to Smith’s Workwear flannel shirts to trucker caps with the slogan “Grip it N Rip it” that cost $19.99. That’s a deal?

A musician of sorts, singer and guitar player, Daly the other night took part in one of the concerts that in the evening follow the golf at the Safeway. “Someone said they thought I was pretty good,” confessed Daly.

His golf used to be very good, and when he was younger it was hard not to muse about Daly, who at one time had such a great future. Now it's hard not to wonder, had he kept his life in order, what might have been.

That’s a game so many of us play, speculation. And true, Daly possibly could have done much, much more. Still, he’s playing golf effectively enough to make the cut against people a generation younger and hear appreciative fans chant, “Daly, Daly, Daiy.”

That’s no small achievement for big John.



RealClearSports: Daly: Memories, Regret and a 68

By Art Spander

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. — The name blows out of the past on the warm wind, whipping up memories and regret.

John Daly is high on a scoreboard in a major, and we are confronted with the joy and pain — mostly pain — of a career that spun out of control. Of a career that is a curiosity.

Read the full story here.

© RealClearSports 2012


Newsday (N.Y.): Mickelson had it going, then finished poorly

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- Phil Mickelson, who had a chance to overtake Tiger Woods as No. 1 in the world rankings, will not. He did shoot 70 Saturday, but that left him at 2-under-par 214.

"I'm disappointed in myself,'' Mickelson said, "because I let a good round slide. I putted great [he briefly was 4 under] and then I made those bad swings on 16 [double-bogey 6] and 17 and played them 3 over par.''

On 16, trying to play safe off the tee with a 5-iron, he hooked it so badly the ball hit the road that runs along the right side of the hole and bounced into the big, grassy area that's home to concession stands, the merchandise tent. It was miles out of bounds.

Pants on fire

There was an interesting remark from Henrik Stenson about the weather. "The wind,'' he said, "feels like it's trying to rip your pants off, and that's no good.''

Stenson, of course, is the Swedish pro who stripped down to his underwear before wading into a water hazard to play a shot in the 2009 WGC-CA Championship at Doral. Entering the third round at 2 under, Stenson, his pants on, shot a 5-under 67 to move into a tie for fourth at 7 under.

Casey at the bat

A year after a rib muscle forced him to miss three months of the season, Paul Casey is in contention to become the first Englishman to win the British Open since 1992. His 67 put him within four strokes of Louis Oosthuizen. "Sitting here right now, I'm ecstatic," Casey said. "You know, even right now, occasionally I feel the muscles in the ribs. In no way do they affect my golf. But it's a small reminder that quite often you take for granted a lot of things, and nothing is better than an Open Championship at the home of golf."

Chip shots

John Daly's trousers were the wildest of the week, a red-and-black stripe variation of a Cincinnati Bengals helmet pattern; he had a 74 for even-par 216 after starting with a 66 Thursday . . . Rory McIlroy, who led the fist day with a 63, then shot 80, rallied for a 69, despite a double-bogey 6 on 17 the Road Hole . . . Mark Calcavecchia started the day in second place at 7 under, but he began bogey, bogey, and then took a 9 on the par-5 fifth hole that included two penalty shots. But after a 43 on the front nine, Calcavecchia had a 34 on the back for a 77 and 2-under 214.

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Copyright © 2010 Newsday. All rights reserved.

RealClearSports: Old Course Is Old Friend to Tiger, Big John

By Art Spander

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- This is an easy area to find enchantment, to be captured by the mystery of a town as well as the history of golf.

The ruins of a 900-year-old cathedral prove an iconic sentinel at one end of a place constructed as much on great golf as of gray stone. A few cobblestone streets away rests the Old Course, no less a benchmark than a landmark.

Read the full story here.

© RealClearSports 2010

Newsday (N.Y.): Daly shoots 66 on his favorite course

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- They are trousers here, not "pants." The ones John Daly wears these days, he calls them Paseltines, look they've been designed using a kaleidoscope. "I can get dressed in the dark," he said. "Any shirt is going to match."

Daly  -- 44, slimmed by Lap-Band surgery and seemingly reformed -- is trying to equal the golf he once played when, before the binges and the suspensions, he won the 1991 PGA Championship and the 1995 British Open.

The '95 Open was at St. Andrews, where Thursday Daly briefly held the lead in the first round with a 6-under par 66 that still proved good enough for a tie for third.

"I love this course," Daly said. "I fell in love in '94 in the Dunhill Cup. I don't know why. It just suits my game . . . It's a golf course that not only brings back memories but was a memory even before I played it because of the great players that have won here. It's my favorite course in the world."

The end of January, having missed the cut in the Farmers Insurance Open at San Diego, Daly announced he was quitting golf. He explained he was frustrated because "I wanted results quicker," after three years of pain from a rib injury.

The results Thursday were encouraging.

"I've learned a lot," he said of his alcoholism and divorces. "I have never run from my mistakes. I've always been honest with you guys [the media] and everybody around me. I'm on a comeback. I've been hurt. It makes it very tough to get your confidence up when you're working around injuries."

Daly said he hasn't had a drink since the band was surgically implanted in April 2009 and has lost more than 100 pounds. "I'm not dieting," he pointed out. "I just can only put a little bit of the bad stuff in my belly."

A British writer said, "You're no longer the Wild Thing. What can we call you now, please?"
Daly thought for a moment.

"I don't know," he answered. "The Mild Thing?"

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Copyright © 2010 Newsday. All rights reserved.