Daly’s style not only thing getting notice
Flamboyant player surprisingly in hunt
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — John Daly’s scorecard was the only thing getting more attention than his pants.
Golf’s most entertaining sideshow was at it again Thursday, tying his best round at the British Open with a 6-under 66 on the Old Course. It put him atop the leader-board, a spot that, regardless how brief the stay, would have been unimaginable during the latest chapter in his pulp fiction life.
“I’ve never ran from my mis--
‘When you have so many ups and downs in life, like everybody does, some smaller and bigger, it makes it so much more gratifying when you do something special.’
JOHN DALY, after his first-round 66
Continued from C1 takes. I’ve always kind of been the man that you’re supposed to be when you screw up — and I’ve screwed up an awful lot, not just on tour, but in other aspects of life,” Daly said. “I think it’s how you come back and deal with it. I don’t know if it’s motivation for fans or if it’s helping them. Whatever it is, as long as it’s a positive, to me that’s all that matters.
“When you have so many ups and downs in life, like everybody does, some smaller and bigger, it makes it so much more gratifying when you do something special.”
Daly birdied seven of the first 11 holes, and he might have challenged leader Rory McIlroy if not for four putts that lipped out. One, on 17, led to his only bogey of the day.
That Daly is a spectacular talent has never been in doubt. You don’t go from last alternate to major champion, as he did at the 1991 PGA Championship, without considerable game. And you sure don’t win a second major — the British Open here at St. Andrews, no less — by being lucky.
Daly is Everyman. Fans can’t help but be charmed, seeing a little bit of themselves in him. Or maybe a little bit of who they would like to be. He hits driver when he should hit irons. He goes for shots that inevitably end badly. He believes “grip it and rip it” is more than just a cute slogan.
Daly’s nickname was “Wild Thing,” and he more than lived up to it.
Among other things, he trashed a hotel room in 1997 during The Players Championship and once did a TV interview to promote a golf course wearing only blue jeans. No shirt, no shoes. The PGA Tour has put him in timeout-mode five times (his disciplinary file was a hefty 456 pages as of fall 2008), fined him $100,000 and ordered him to attend counseling or alcohol rehab seven times. He’s also lost part of a considerable fortune to four ex-wives, gambling and bad loans to friends.
But at 44, even Daly has had enough of his high-wire act. He’s lost almost 100 pounds since having Lap-Band surgery in February 2009, and he said he’s quit drinking and eating as much junk.
There’s still a long way to go. Daly has dropped to 455th in the world rankings. He has just one top-50 finish this year.
Fans get a kick out of him. They applauded as he strolled up the 18th fairway smoking a cigarette and wearing lavender paisley pants.
“All of these pants, the good thing about them is you get dressed in the dark, any shirt is going to match,” Daly said.
Not really. Daly’s sky-blue sweater, peach shirt and turquoise hat were cringe-worthy, more acceptable for a 3-yearold dressing himself.
But as Daly is trying to prove, it’s his game that matters. And he feels at home at St. Andrews.
“I don’t know why, it just suits my game,” he said. “It’s, to me, my favorite course all over the world.”
John Daly, who shot a 66 in the first round of the British Open on Thursday, said he feels at home at the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland. ‘I don’t know why, it just suits my game,’ he said.