A Busy Day on Planet Daly

By Mercer BaggsJanuary 18, 2006, 5:00 pm
The Daly Planet'Hate' is a very strong word. But its probably not strong enough to describe John Dalys affections towards flying. He travels from tournament to tournament, engagement to engagement in a 45-foot motor home as often as possible. And if he must fly then a private jet is the only option. You wont see him on a commercial plane. And you will never, ever, ever, not for a million Marlboros and 100 cases of Miller Lite, see him in a helicopter. Not again.
Last August, while doing an exhibition in which he attempted to drive a golf ball from one side of Niagara Falls to the other, Daly was told that he would need to take a helicopter from the Canadian side to the New York side to do an interview. It was to be a four-minute journey.
He reluctantly agreed.
The pilot told John, Dont worry. Weve never had a problem with this helicopter. It was like telling him that he hadnt missed a 4-footer in a month. The jinx had been set.
John Daly
'The Daly Planet' shows the good, the bad and the scary in John Daly's life.
The chopper went up. And then to the right. And even more to the right. An alarm went off signaling an overheated engine. The sound could have been a flatline on Daly heart. The man was scared. Like a 6-year-old watching 'The Exorcist' scared.
What happened next can be seen Wednesday night at 10:30 p.m. ET, when his new reality show, 'The Daly Planet,' debuts on The Golf Channel.
This will be Episode 1 of a scheduled 13. Its a very personal look into a man who has lived a very public life.
Last week, Daly partook in a media tour to promote the show. He did four different talk and sports shows in Los Angeles before taking a red-eye ' on a private jet ' to do three more in New York.
His first stop in L.A. was at the Tribune Studios off of Sunset Boulevard.
Daly arrives there around 8:30 Tuesday morning with his wife, Sherrie, and his 6-year-old son, Austin. About an hour later hes accessed into the building to tape a segment for ESPN Hollywood.
Before he does his promotional interview with host Thea Andrews, he first joins Gene Simmons in an office for another taped segment called Hook-up, in which one celebrity interviews another.
This time, Simmons is the interviewer. Theyve never met before, but Daly does have a guitar signed by the KISS frontman and guitarist Paul Stanley.
The 20-minute session can be described in but one word: surreal.
Topics stray well outside the boundaries of golf and into marriage and sex and all things men and women.
Daly has been married four times; Simmons none. The latter tells the former, Ive been happily unmarried to the same woman for 22 years. Those two decades dont involve monogamy, however, and Simmons tells Daly all of his reasons why.
When Simmons emerges from the room, he provides a classic rock star moment. He sees an attractive public relations woman working with Daly on this trip and says confidently and smarmily, Hello. I like girls.
'I know you do,' she responds. As he walks away, she adds, 'Creepy.'
Daly goes on to do his interview with Andrews and it takes roughly 18 minutes. The questions are mostly relegated to the show. He tells his helicopter story and talks about some of the things that they had to cut out of the show. They also go into his charitable work and who is the best celebrity golfer (former hockey player Dan Quinn, Daly says). Its entertaining and informative (Daly reveals that hes a neat freak). Nothing too edgy.
Thats to come.
After wrapping up the first quarter of his interview set, Daly and company pile into a black, stretch Hummer limousine thats just big enough for all in tow, including luggage and camera equipment.
The company consists of Dalys family and the film crew who has been documenting his life over the last eight months, as well as me.
Its barely past 11 a.m., but this is the only time for lunch. Were pointed to a Mexican restaurant which can accommodate. While eating, Cleveland Browns running back Ruben Droughns stops by to say hi. Daly takes notice of his watch, which has enough bling to make the late Liberace blush.
After an hour of decent and filling dining, we head back to the same studio lot for the next show, Jim Rome is Burning.
This ones got Daly a little nervous. For one, this interview is live. And though hes never met Rome, the gregarious, goateed one has been highly critical of Daly on past shows. But Rome proves all bark in ones absence and no bite in ones presence.
Before the interview, Daly is shuttled up three flights of stairs, which proves to be the most frivolous trip of all time. They want to pretty him up. I dont do make-up, Daly says flatly. And thats that. Back down stairs.
At 1:34, Daly goes live with Rome. The questions barely skim the surface of Dalys storied and notorious past. Instead they mostly focus on his playing career, the show and his generosity off the course. It goes quite well from Dalys standpoint. It even lasts two segments, marking the first time Rome has ever done an extra session with an in-studio guest.
Daly admits, I feel I should have won a lot more than I have Im nowhere near where I should be; as well as, When youve got four kids, you tend to chill out a little. He also says that he broke his right hand last November when his brother slammed it in a door.
The second segment ends and the two shake hands. Rome tells Daly that what he really wants to see is the stuff on the editing room floor.
On his way back to the limo, Daly does a pre-interview with a producer from The Tony Danza Show, which he is slated to do Wednesday in New York. He will also do 'Fox & Friends and Late Night with Conan OBrien, as well as a phone interview with the Dan Patrick Show and a sit-down interview at lunch with a reporter from the New York Times.
It all begins at 8 a.m. ET ' just enough time for him to arrive in N.Y., take a shower and change clothes.
At the present, however, its 2:12 p.m. PT, and Daly still has two more shows to do before flying out.
His next destination is 20th Century Fox Studios for The Best Damn Sports Show Period.
We arrive 40 minutes later and get checked in through security. After a pleasant stay in a waiting room filled with sodas and sweets and fruits and cheeses, and ex-athletes, its time for the show, which is taped live.
At 4:20, Daly is introduced on the show following a Planet promo featuring the helicopter incident. There is a live studio crowd being pumped up by a hyperactive stage manager, who is choreographing their laughter. He's like a bald and bearded Richard Simmons. Its very high energy.
Its also Dalys best performance. He appears laid back and very relaxed. Not that he was uncomfortable or unhappy before, but he definitely enjoys this one more than the previous two.
As if to 1-up Rome, Best Damn keeps Daly on for three segments. In the first one, he sits down with host Chris Rose and show regulars, former basketballer John Salley, former footballer Rodney Peete, and former baseballer Rob Dibble.
They talk more about the show and his career. They also bring up Michelle Wie (Daly thought she would make the cut at the Sony Open) and who his buddies are on tour (he mentions Pat Perez and Jason Gore, among others).
In the second segment, they move to another area of the studio, where Daly analyzes the 6-foot, 11-inch Salleys swing. He does the same for Peete, who was a quarterback, before hitting one himself. His son then takes a club and whacks one into the center of the net. Hyper Boy pumps up the crowd and they go to break.
The third block consists of a Big Break-style challenge in which Daly has 45 seconds to break three panes of glass. If he does, his name will go on their Wall of Flame, which is a reference to the sports-energy drink which sponsors the segment.
At first they give Daly a driver. This will never work, because the panes of glass only stand about 3 feet high. Daly takes a 7-iron instead, and after missing on his first three tries, he break the middle pane on his fourth attempt, the left pane on his fifth, and the right pane on his sixth.
The sixth ball, by the way, breaks the glass but also ricochets off the frame and rockets backwards, just clearing Salleys head by inches.
Hyper Boy pumps up the crowd and they put up Dalys name alongside that of former linebacker Hugh Douglas and basketball bad boy Ron Artest. Some prize.
At 4:57, we finally leave the Fox Studio and head to the Hyatt Hotel for CMI: Chris Myers Interview.
We take the elevator up to room 816, where Myers' crew has everything ready to go. Daly gets micd up and again avoids make-up (You cant make me look pretty, baby, he tells the make-up girl).
They begin the interview at 5:19 and it starts with most of the same questions hes already answered. But then the edge, the one that he had expected with Rome, enters the conversation.
Myers asks him why he hasnt won more, about his past marriages (Daly says this one works because, We love each other a little more than we hate each other), and what advice he would give his youngest son, Little John, 2, if he should ever play professionally (Just dont do what daddy did, Daly says).
The total interview lasts about 25 minutes and is broken into three segments, of which No. 2 cuts the deepest.
It starts innocently enough, with Myers asking about the show. Daly says that there are no skeletons in my closet. And that opens up a big door.
Myers riffles one question after another about Dalys past ' his drinking, his depression, his relationships. Its not done in a rude or ruthless manner; its more of a this-is-what-youve-done-how-do-you-explain-it manner. To his credit, Daly answers them all and never shows any signs of discomfort. He says that the longest he has gone without drinking was from a period in 1992-96. He says that he still drinks beer, but that he avoids hard liquor.
The final segment is much tamer. They talk about what his favorite club is in his bag (Daly says its the L-wedge, not his driver). They also talk about his golfing roots. Daly says that he always wanted to win like Jack (Nicklaus) and play (fast) like Fuzzy (Zoeller) or (Lee) Trevino.' In a word association game, Myers says, Tiger. Daly responds, Will be the greatest. Myers says, Jack Nicklaus. Daly responds, Is still the greatest.
They talk about the future of the game and Daly says that he intends to play golf until Im 6 feet under. And thats that.
Daly and Myers shake hands, no hard feelings.
Its 5:57, roughly 9 hours after the day of questioning and promoting and cramming eight people, luggage and camera equipment into a black, stretch Hummer limousine began.
Daly slides back into the limo and gets ready to head for the airport. Unfortunately, this is where we part ways. Hes headed to Burbank to catch his private jet to N.Y. Im headed to LAX for seat 19A on Delta Song back to Orlando, Fla.
It was good, Daly says of the day. Things went well, I think. He then cracks open a Diet Coke and falls back into his seat.
And with that he's off. Off to do it all again tomorrow. Just another day on John Daly's planet.
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Related Links:
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    Tour's Integrity Program raises gambling questions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 17, 2018, 7:00 pm

    The video begins with an eye-opening disclaimer: “Sport betting markets produce revenues of $1 trillion each year.”

    For all the seemingly elementary elements of the 15-minute video PGA Tour players have been required to watch as part of the circuit’s newly created Integrity Program, it’s the enormity of the industry – $1 trillion annually – that concerns officials.

    There are no glaring examples of how sport betting has impacted golf, no red flags that sent Tour officials into damage control; just a realization that with that kind of money it’s best to be proactive.

    “It's important that in that world, you can operate not understanding what's happening week in and week out, or you can assume that all of our players and everybody in our ecosystem understands that that's not an acceptable activity, or you can just be proactive and clarify and educate,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan explained earlier this month. “That's what we have attempted to do not with just the video, but with all of our communication with our players and will continue to do that.”

    But if clarification is the goal, a copy of the training video obtained by GolfChannel.com paints a different picture.

    Although the essence of the policy is straightforward – “prohibit players from betting on professional golf” – the primary concern, at least if the training video is any indication, is on match fixing; and warns players to avoid divulging what is considered “inside information.”

    “I thought the questions were laughable. They were all like first-grade-level questions,” Chez Reavie said. “I would like to think everyone out here already knows the answer to those questions. But the Tour has to protect themselves.”

    Monahan explained that the creation of the integrity policy was not in reaction to a specific incident and every player asked last week at the Sony Open said they had never encountered any type of match fixing.

    “No, not at all,” Reavie said. “I have friends who will text me from home after a round, ‘Oh, I bet on you playing so-and-so.’ But I make it clear I don’t want to know. I don’t gamble like that. No one has ever approached me about losing a match.”

    It was a common answer, but the majority of the video focuses on how players can avoid being placed in a compromising situation that could lead to match fixing. It should be noted that gamblers can place wagers on head-to-head matchups, provided by betting outlets, during stroke-play rounds of tournaments – not just in match-play competitions.

    Part of the training video included questions players must answer to avoid violating the policy. An example of this was how a player should respond when asked, “Hello, buddy! Well played today. I was following your progress. I noticed your partner pulled out of his approach on 18, looked like his back. Is he okay for tomorrow?”

    The correct answer from a list of options was, “I don’t know, sorry. I’m sure he will get it looked at if it’s bothering him.”

    You get the idea, but for some players the training created more questions.

    How, for example, should a player respond when asked how he’s feeling by a fan?

    “The part I don’t understand, let’s say a member of your club comes out and watches you on the range hitting balls, he knows you’re struggling, and he bets against you. Somehow, some way that could come back to you, according to what I saw on that video,” said one player who asked not to be identified.

    Exactly what constitutes a violation is still unclear for some who took the training, which was even more concerning considering the penalties for a violation of the policy.

    The first violation is a warning and a second infraction will require the player to retake the training program, but a third violation is a fine “up to $500,000” or “the amount illegally received from the betting activity.” A sixth violation is a lifetime ban from the Tour.

    Players are advised to be mindful of what they post on social media and to “refrain from talking about odds or betting activity.” The latter could be an issue considering how often players discuss betting on other sports.

    Just last week at the Sony Open, Kevin Kisner and Justin Thomas had a “friendly” wager on the College Football Playoff National Championship. Kisner, a Georgia fan, lost the wager and had to wear an Alabama football jersey while playing the 17th hole last Thursday.

    “If I'd have got the points, he'd have been wearing [the jersey], and I was lobbying for the points the whole week, and he didn't give them to me,” Kisner said. “So I'm still not sure about this bet.”

    It’s unclear to some if Kisner’s remark, which was a joke and didn’t have anything to do with golf, would be considered a violation. From a common sense standpoint, Kisner did nothing wrong, but the uncertainty is an issue.

    Much like drug testing, which the Tour introduced in 2008, few, if any, think sport betting is an issue in golf; but also like the anti-doping program, there appears to be the danger of an inadvertent and entirely innocent violation.

    The Tour is trying to be proactive and the circuit has a trillion reasons to get out in front of what could become an issue, but if the initial reaction to the training video is any indication they may want to try a second take.

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    Lexi looks to shine as LPGA season begins next week

    By Randall MellJanuary 17, 2018, 6:06 pm

    Lexi Thompson may be No. 4 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, but in so many ways she became the new face of the women’s game last year.

    That makes her the headliner in a fairly star-studded season opener at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic next week.

    Three of the top four players in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings are scheduled to tee it up on Paradise Island, including world No. 1 Shanshan Feng and co-Rolex Player of the Year So Yeon Ryu.

    From the heartache at year’s start with the controversial loss at the ANA Inspiration, through the angst in the middle of the year with her mother’s cancer diagnosis, to the stunning disappointment at year’s end, Thompson emerged as the story of the year because of all she achieved in spite of those ordeals.

    Next week’s event will mark the first time Thompson tees it up in an LPGA tournament since her season ended in stunning fashion last November with a missed 2-foot putt that cost her a chance to win the CME Group Tour Championship and the Rolex Player of the Year Award, and become the world No. 1.

    She still walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for the season’s low scoring average.

    She also walked away sounding determined to show she will bounce back from that last disappointment the same way she bounced back from her gut-wrenching loss at the year’s first major, the ANA, where a four-shot Sunday penalty cost her a chance to win her second major.

    “Just going through what I have this whole year, and seeing how strong I am, and how I got through it all and still won two tournaments, got six seconds ... it didn’t stop me,” Thompson said leaving the CME Group Tour Championship. “This won’t either.”

    Thompson was named the Golf Writers Association of America’s Player of the Year in a vote of GWAA membership. Ryu and Sung Hyun Park won the tour’s points-based Rolex Player of the Year Award.

    With those two victories and six second-place finishes, three of those coming after playoff losses, Thompson was close to fashioning a spectacular year in 2017, to dominating the tour.

    The new season opens with Thompson the center of attention again. Consistently one of the tour’s best ball strikers and longest hitters, she enjoyed her best year on tour last season by making dramatic improvements in her wedge play, short game and, most notably, her putting.

    She doesn’t have a swing coach. She fashioned a better all-around game on her own, or under the watchful eye of her father, Scott. All the work she put in showed up in her winning the Vare Trophy.

    The Pure Silk Bahamas Classic will also feature defending champion Brittany Lincicome, as well as Ariya Jutanugarn, Stacy Lewis, Michelle Wie, Brooke Henderson, I.K. Kim, Danielle Kang and Charley Hull.

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    One & Done: 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 5:55 pm

    Beginning in 2018, Golf Channel is offering a "One & Done" fantasy game alternative. Choose a golfer and add the salary they earn at the event to your season-long total - but know that once chosen, a player cannot be used again for the rest of the year.

    Log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to start your own league and make picks for this week's event.

    Here are some players to consider for One & Done picks this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, where Hudson Swafford returns as the defending champion:

    Zach Johnson. The two-time major champ has missed the cut here three years in a row. So why include him in One & Done consideration? Because the three years before that (2012-14) included three top-25s highlighted by a third-place finish, and his T-14 at the Sony Open last week was his fifth straight top-25 dating back to September.

    Bud Cauley. Cauley has yet to win on Tour, but that could very well change this year - even this week. Cauley ended up only two shots behind Swafford last year and tied for 14th the year prior, as four of his five career appearances have netted at least a top-40 finish. He opened the new season with a T-7 in Napa and closed out the fall with a T-8 at Sea Island.

    Adam Hadwin. Swafford left last year with the trophy, but it looked for much of the weekend like it would be Hadwin's tournament as he finished second despite shooting a 59 in the third round. Hadwin was also T-6 at this event in 2016 and now with a win under his belt last March he returns with some unfinished business.

    Charles Howell III. If you didn't use him last week at the Sony Open, this could be another good spot for the veteran who has four top-15 finishes over the last seven years at this event, highlighted by a playoff loss in 2013. His T-32 finish last week in Honolulu, while not spectacular, did include four sub-70 scores.

    David Lingmerth. Lingmerth was in that 2013 playoff with Howell (eventually won by Brian Gay), and he also lost here in overtimei to Jason Dufner in 2016. The Swede also cracked the top 25 here in 2015 and is making his first start since his wife, Megan, gave birth to the couple's first child in December. Beware the sleep-deprived golfer.

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    DJ: Kapalua win means nothing for Abu Dhabi

    By Associated PressJanuary 17, 2018, 2:55 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Dustin Johnson's recent victory in Hawaii doesn't mean much when it comes to this week's tournament.

    The top-ranked American will play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship for the second straight year. But this time he is coming off a victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which he won by eight shots.

    ''That was two weeks ago. So it really doesn't matter what I did there,'' said Johnson, who finished runner-up to Tommy Fleetwood in Abu Dhabi last year. ''This is a completely new week and everybody starts at even par and so I've got to start over again.''

    In 2017, the long-hitting Johnson put himself in contention despite only making one eagle and no birdies on the four par-5s over the first three rounds.

    ''The par 5s here, they are not real easy because they are fairly long, but dependent on the wind, I can reach them if I hit good tee balls,'' the 2016 U.S. Open champion said. ''Obviously, I'd like to play them a little better this year.''

    The tournament will see the return of Paul Casey as a full member of the European Tour after being away for three years.

    ''It's really cool to be back. What do they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder? Quite cheesy, but no, really, really cool,'' said the 40-year-old Englishman, who is now ranked 14th in the world. ''When I was back at the Open Championship at Birkdale, just the reception there, playing in front of a home crowd, I knew this is something I just miss.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship starts Thursday and also features former No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who is making a comeback after more than three months off.