He was the rags to riches PGA Champion. He was the longest hitter on the PGA Tour for years. He was the golfer who looked like he couldn't even spell country club. His actions led you to wonder if he cared about his future, or his own well being at all. Yet through it all, he has been one of the most honest, articulate and sincere people in the sports world. Now it appears that he has been able to regain control of his life and is taking one more shot at the big time. Forget the Dos Equis guy, John Daly truly is the most interesting man in the world.
John Daly has always been known for throwing caution to the wind in both his golf game and his life. His career that started out with such promise fell victim, along with his life, to his various addictions. Despite remaining a fan favorite, until recently John Daly had become known more for stories like claiming that when he was 23, he drank a fifth of Jack Daniels every day for the entire year. Or for reports like this, and pictures like these. It appeared that such a promising career was headed straight down the toilet. If seemed as if any day could be John Daly's last.
Despite such a torrent of personal problems though, John Daly has always been a very well spoken, thoughtful and intelligent individual. The Golf Channel (a channel that I promote very strongly) has recently been doing some interviews with him, and I continue to be amazed with his personality. In an era where every professional athlete has to consider who is signing their checks before they can open their mouth (see: Tiger Woods et al.) John Daly has always been so honest and open with his thoughts. He has publicly acknowledged that he has many problems and has struggled openly with how to deal with them. He has also managed to keep a wonderful sense of humor through all of his ordeals. From what other professional athlete would you ever hear quotes like these?:
- "I know there's a lot of guys who would love to see me fail. Well, good. Let 'em. I'm glad."
- "There are probably some things I could do to keep my flexibility up, but I'd rather smoke, drink Diet Cokes and eat."
- "Seems I used to do everything like I was on a mission. If it was alcohol, I wanted to drink till I couldn't see straight. If it was golf, I wanted to beat everybody's brains out. If it was driving, I can get there faster'n you can... I was stubborn as hell. I had no direction."
- "Nobody can know what's in my heart. Nobody can know what I'm thinking. I know what I've got to do."
- "I believe nicotine plus caffeine equals protein."
Nowadays, it appears that Big John is beginning to get a grip on his life. Gone are the days of the golden mullet fluffing wonderfully in the sun. As a matter of fact, you probably wouldn't even recognize Daly if you bumped into him on the street. Thanks to lap band surgery, Daly has lost over 100 pounds, but unfortunately is sporting a vicious turkey neck now. Though he did not make the cut in the Sony Open this weekend, Daly appears to be back on the right track after such a great fall from grace. I think he will realize that people will still support him even though he does not lead the rock and roll lifestyle he once did. I for one wish John Daly the best of luck and would love to see him start winning tournaments again. His personality and life story are so unique and thought provoking that it is just great to see him back on the tour again.