The Skinny on Big John

By Mercer BaggsJanuary 25, 2006, 5:00 pm
Editor's Note: This is the second of a two-part series (Read Part 1) on fan favorite John Daly. Daly's new series The Daly Planet airs Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. ET on The Golf Channel.
Its 8:42 a.m. L.A. time and John Daly smokes his first cigarette. At least its the first one that Ive seen him smoke. Hes sitting at a small, circular table outside of Tribune Studios, waiting for entrance into the offices of ESPN Hollywood.
Hes with his wife Sherrie, who is sporting a wedding ring the size of a Chicken McNugget and is wearing a studded belt that reads Mrs. Daly, as well as his 6-year-old son Austin.
John Daly
John Daly missed the cut in his first event of '06, the European Tour's Abu Dhabi Champ.
John is there, along with a Golf Channel film crew, to promote his reality show on TGC, The Daly Planet.' Im there to chronicle his media tour in the City of Angels.
John, of course, is no angel. John knows this. Everyone else knows this. John knows that everyone else knows this. Because of this, John feels that he has nothing to hide, which is one of the reasons he agreed to do what's thus far been an eight-month tag along.
Ive got no skeletons in my closet, he tells me.
He goes on to say, Its something thats different and that no golfers done. People can really see what really goes on in the career of a golfer. I dont know if Im the first athlete to do something like this or not, but hopefully it will open the doors for not just golf, but maybe some of the football players, some of the NBA, maybe the major league baseball players.
It lets the public realize that, hey, its not the most glamorous lifestyle. Its not as glamorous as people might think it is ' the traveling, not being with your kids. I wouldnt trade it for the world, but its more hectic than people might think it is.
Being that this is the first time that Ive had any up-close and personal interaction with Daly off of the golf course, I thought that Id do more observing than talking. I thought about doing a cigarette count for the day or maybe track his cola intake. But I quickly changed my mind.
These things we already know about Daly. We know he smokes like tires at a drag race and that 25 percent of his blood is actually Diet Coke. These things we know, so it really serves no purpose harping on them, I thought.
We know these things just like we know of all his past transgressions: the drinking and the gambling and the divorces. So, again, why belabor the issue?
As Daly is sitting and waiting to do the first of four promotional shows this Tuesday, I get a chance to sit next to him and interview him before he gets saturated with questions over the course of the day and gets locked into R.A.M. ' Repetitive Answer Mode.
After a couple of questions of my own, however, the interview turns more into a conversation, a casual chat. It turns into an opportunity to get to know more about John Daly ' more than what we already know.
Thats a large part of what this reality show is all about. Sure, there is plenty of drinking and cussing and blue moments ' and that doesnt even come close to including all of the stuff that hit the edit room floor, but there are other things, like his charitable works and him playing with his kids and the constant, beleaguering travel.
This Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. ET The Golf Channel will air Episode 2 which features Daly playing in the 2005 British Open at St. Andrews. It marked the 10-year anniversary of Dalys triumph at St. Andrews; something Daly called his greatest golfing achievement.
Nothing against (winning) the (1991) PGA, but to hear a guy like Jack Nicklaus say that if youve won at the home of golf, St. Andrews, the British Open, that your career is pretty complete - thats incredible, Daly said in our conversation. And thats coming from a guy that won 20 majors (18 professional and two U.S. Amateurs). If youve won at St. Andrews then youve pretty much had an unbelievable golf career.
All things being equal, Daly said that he is just as fond of his PGA victory as he is of his second major championship. The difference lies in the venues ' Crooked Stick vs. St. Andrews ' and is measured in historical significance.
I think had it been anywhere else, at any other British Open, it still would have been very special, but not like at St. Andrews, the home of golf, he said.
The 2006 season will be Dalys 16th on the PGA Tour. He will begin his campaign this week in La Jolla, Calif., home to the Buick Invitational, which happens to be the site of his most recent tour triumph in 2004.
That Buick victory was just the fifth of Dalys tour career and his first since the 95 British. Daly freely admits that he should have won more. And there are several reasons as to why he has not, most of which involve his own doings. You only have to look back to a year ago to find a couple of examples.
At the Shell Houston Open, he lost to Vijay Singh in a playoff when he drove his tee shot into the water on the first hole of sudden death. He then lost in another playoff six months later, this time to Tiger Woods at the WGC-American Express Championship, when he missed a 3-foot par putt on the second extra hole.
But these are just a pair of missed opportunities ' opportunities that have been few and far between. The biggest reason why Daly has only one tour win over the last decade involves the 'C' word.
'Consistency,' he says. Theres no doubt I havent won what I should have. The difference is consistency. I was never very consistent over the first part of my career, but I feel like Ive been much more consistent over the last two years.
Over the last two seasons, Daly has recorded 14 top-25 finishes and seven top-10s. Those numbers are equal to his figures in those two departments over the previous four years combined.
In 2004, he was 21st on the money list, thanks in large part to his playoff victory at Torrey Pines. And in 05, he was 42nd in earnings, thanks in large part to those two playoff losses. He hasnt had back-to-back years in the top 50 on the money list since his first two seasons of 1991-92.
So why now is the 'C' word more of a good word when used in relation to Daly?
Just kind of having things more in order off the course, he says. When things are better off the course, then you can play better on it.
Things are still far from perfect outside of the ropes for Daly, as you will see on his show. But they are much better than they have been in the past, and you will see that as well.
What I noticed, from talking to him and listening to what he said during his talk-show rounds, is that Daly seems to be much more comfortable with who he is. Hes not letting others place labels on him, and he believes that he has a hold of his current lifestyle.
And, hes not living in the past.
You have to look forward. If you live in the past youre never going to be a positive person, he says. Everybody does things in life that they kind of regret, but think about the positives and move on.
As for this year, Daly has one goal in mind: Make the Ryder Cup, he says. In his 15 previous seasons, hes never played on a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup team, and both of his major victories came in Ryder Cup years. Hes currently outside the top 50 on the points list, meaning hes really going to have to get that consistency thing going to make it on his own merit ' which is something he knows that he will have to do after seeing the lack of consideration he received as a possible captains selection in 04.
At first sight, Daly appears that he may actually be in better shape ' that shape being slightly less round ' than he was even a year ago. And its not through exercise. They wouldnt let me bring my beer and my smokes with me to the gym, he jokes. Or maybe that wasnt a joke.
Sherrie says that she has him on her diet plan and that hes dropped about 30 pounds. She says that hes lost his spare tire, to which Daly quickly chimes in, Yeah, but Ive got two more around here.
Make no mistake; hes still a big man. And a very busy one.
Off the course, Daly has plenty of other interests. Hes involved in multiple charity operations, including his own John Daly Charitable Foundation, which provides relief to the poor and underprivileged, especially kids.
In addition to The Daly Planet, hes also working on an autobiography, entitled In and Out of the Rough, which he expects to be released some time after this years Masters.
'It will be very revealing,' Daly says of the book. 'I might get in some trouble for this one.'
And, of course, there are the constant obligations to his sponsors, which keeps him on the road most of the year.
But when he does get some down time, he says that he loves to head to his home in Dardanelle, Ark., where he just purchased a golf course, the Lions Den Golf Club.
Its fun, you know. Its different, he says. When I do deals with golf courses, its usually Im a consultant. But when you own your own theres a lot of stuff you can do.
Im going to do it right, he continues. Ill probably put a couple of million in it, maybe not that much, but its going to be great for the members ' where else can you join a club for a thousand bucks (initiation fee) and $95 a month?
As well as giving his members ' which he estimates around 228 at the present ' a quality locale at which to play, the Lions Den also provides Daly with his ideal practice facility.
Nothing against my home in Memphis, but I like to go to Arkansas and practice, he says. I dont have to put a pair of slacks on or a golf shirt, I can wear whatever I want ' I can play barefooted if I want to. I take my cart out on my little range, and mainly what I do is hit a lot of wedges and putt a lot.
Not hard to imagine Daly in a t-shirt and jeans, with a Marlboro dangling from his mouth and a Miller Lite next to his shoes-less feet, just flopping some wedges with a bunch of his buddies.
On April 28th of this year, Daly will turn 40. Hes been a professional at this game for nearly half of his life. The games been very good to him, and in many ways, hes been good for the game.
Had things not gone his way, had he never made the field in the 91 PGA as the ninth alternate, and had he just given up when life got the better of him, theres no telling where Daly would be right now. Even he doesnt know.
Man, I couldnt tell you, he says with an exasperated laugh. I guess Id like to do something outside.
I think youd be a lawn guy, his wife says. Youd own your own lawn business or something.
Yeah, maybe, Daly replies. Or maybe a field-goal kicker. I dont know if I would have been good enough to go pro, though.
Fortunately, he doesnt have to worry about such a scenario. Hell never have to mow another mans grass or check the waiver wires for a job. He can play golf as long as he wants. And according to him that will be until Im 6 feet under.
In 10 years time, well probably even see him on the senior circuit.
No cut, he says of the Champions Tour. Yeah, I could do that.
If I live to be 50.
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    Davies wins by 10 on 'best ball-striking round'

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 1:53 am

    WHEATON, Ill. - Laura Davies immediately recognized the significance of having her name inscribed on the first U.S. Senior Women's Open trophy.

    It might be a long time before anyone secures the title as emphatically as Davies did.

    Davies went virtually unchallenged in Sunday's final round of the inaugural USGA championship for women 50 and older, claiming the title by 10 strokes over Juli Inkster.

    ''It's great seeing this (trophy) paraded down for the very first time and I get my name on it first, you know?'' Davies said. ''This championship will be played for many years and there will only be one first winner - obviously a proud moment for me to win that.''

    The 54-year-old Davies shot a 5-under 68 to finish at 16-under 276 at Chicago Golf Club.

    It was the English player's 85th career win, and she felt the pressure even though her lead was rarely in danger.

    ''I haven't won for eight years - my last win was India, 2010,'' Davies said. ''So that's the pressure you're playing under, when you're trying to do something for yourself, prove to yourself you can still win.

    ''So this ranks highly up there. And obviously it's a USGA event. It's hard comparing tournaments, but this is very high on my list of achievements.''

    A 7-under 66 Saturday provided Davies with a five-shot lead over Inkster and what she said would be a sleepless night worrying about the pressure.

    Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open

    The World Golf Hall of Famer widened her advantage early Sunday when she birdied the par-5 second hole and Inkster made bogey. Davies said a par she salvaged at the 10th was another turning point.

    ''It wasn't the greatest hole I ever played, but I think that, to me, was when I really started to think I might have one hand on the trophy and just had to get the other one in there.''

    Inkster shot an even-par 73. England's Trish Johnson also shot 73 to finish third, 12 shots back.

    ''I mean, she was absolutely spectacular this week,'' Johnson said about Davies. ''I've played against her for 35 years. Yesterday was the best I have ever seen her play in her entire career.

    ''She just said walking down 18 it was best ball-striking round she ever had. Considering she's won 85 tournaments, that's quite some feat.''

    Danielle Ammaccapane was fourth and Yuko Saito finished fifth. Martha Leach was the top amateur, tying for 10th at 6-over 298.

    Davies plans to play in the Women's British Open next month, and called this win a confidence-booster as she continues to compete against the younger generation. She finished tied for second at the LPGA's Bank of Hope Founders Cup earlier this year.

    ''You build up a little bit of momentum, and a golf course is a golf course,'' Davies said. ''Sometimes the field strength is a little bit different, but in your own mind if you've done something like this, 16 under for four rounds around a proper championship course, it can't do anything but fill you full of confidence.''

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    Romo rallies to win American Century Championship

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:42 am

    SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Nev. - Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo rallied from four points back to win his first American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe on Sunday.

    Romo, who retired after the 2016 NFL season and is now an NFL analyst, had 27 points on the day to beat three-time defending champion Mark Mulder and San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, the the leader after the first two rounds.

    ''It's a special win,'' said Romo, who had finished second three times in seven previous trips to the annual celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. ''It feels like you're playing a tournament back home here. The day felt good for a lot of reasons.''

    Romo tapped in for par, worth one point, on the 18th hole to finish with 71 points, three ahead of Mulder, the former major league pitcher. He then caught a flight to Berlin, Wis., where he was to compete in a 36-hole U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament on Monday.

    The American Century Championship uses a modified Stableford scoring system which rewards points for eagles (six), birdies (three) and pars (one) and deducts points (two) for double bogeys or worse. Bogeys are worth zero points.

    Pavelski had a 7-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th that could have tied Romo, but it slid by. He finished with 66 points, tied for third with Ray Allen, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 7.

    Full-field scores from the American Century Championship

    ''It feels like nothing went in for me today,'' Pavelski said. ''But I couldn't ask for more than to have that putt to tie on the last hole.''

    Romo plays as an amateur, so his $125,000 first-place check from the $600,000 purse will go to local charities and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, the primary charitable arm of title sponsor American Century Investments.

    Rounding out the top five were Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, and former tennis player Mardy Fish. Each had 62 points.

    Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, who fell out of contention with a mediocre round Saturday, jumped into Lake Tahoe amidst much fanfare after losing a bet to his father, Dell. The elder Curry jumped into the lake last year, so he negotiated a 20-point handicap and won by two points.

    Other notable players in the 92-player field included John Smoltz, the MLB hall of Fame pitcher who two weeks ago competed in the U.S. Senior Open and finished 10th here with 53 points; Steph Curry, who finished tied for 11th with retired Marine and wounded war hero Andrew Bachelder (50); actor Jack Wagner (16th, 47 points); Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (tied for 18th, 44 points); actor Ray Romano (tied for 71st, minus-26 points); comedian Larry the Cable Guy (tied for 77th, minus-33 points); and former NBA great Charles Barkley, who finished alone in last with minus-93 points.

    The tournament drew 57,097 fans for the week, setting an attendance record for the fourth straight year.

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    Singh tops Maggert in playoff for first senior major

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:10 am

    HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. - Vijay Singh birdied the second playoff hole to beat Jeff Maggert and win the Constellation Senior Players Championship on Sunday.

    Singh knocked in a putt from about 2 feet after a nearly perfect approach on the 18th hole at Exmoor Country Club, giving an understated fist pump as the ball fell in. That gave him his first major title on the PGA Tour Champions to go with victories at the Masters and two PGA Championships.

    Singh (67) and Maggert (68) finished at 20-under 268. Brandt Jobe (66) was two strokes behind, while Jerry Kelly (64) and defending champion Scott McCarron (71) finished at 17 under.

    Maggert had chances to win in regulation and on the first playoff hole.

    He bogeyed the par-4 16th to fall into a tie with Singh at 20 under and missed potential winning birdie putts at the end of regulation and on the first playoff hole.

    His 15-footer on the 72nd hole rolled wide, forcing the playoff, and a downhill 12-footer on the same green went just past the edge.

    Full-field scores from the Constellation Energy Senior Players

    The 55-year-old Singh made some neat par saves to get into the playoff.

    His tee shot on 17 landed near the trees to the right of the fairway, and his approach on 18 wound up in a bunker. But the big Fijian blasted to within a few feet to match Maggert's par.

    McCarron - tied with Maggert and Bart Bryant for the lead through three rounds - was trying to join Arnold Palmer and Bernhard Langer as the only back-to-back winners of this major. He came back from a six-shot deficit to win at Caves Valley near Baltimore last year and got off to a good start on Sunday.

    He birdied the first two holes to reach 18 under. But bogeys on the par-4 seventh and ninth holes knocked him off the lead. His tee shot on No. 7 rolled into a hole at the base of a tree and forced him to take an unplayable lie.

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    Davies a fitting winner of inaugural USGA championship

    By Randall MellJuly 15, 2018, 11:26 pm

    Laura Davies confessed she did not sleep well on a five-shot lead Saturday night at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

    It’s all you needed to know about what this inaugural event meant to the women who were part of the history being made at Chicago Golf Club.

    The week was more than a parade of memories the game’s greats created playing in the USGA’s long-awaited showcase for women ages 50 and beyond.

    The week was more than nostalgic. 

    It was a chance to make another meaningful mark on the game.

    In the end, Davies relished seeing the mark she made in her runaway, 10-shot victory. She could see it in the familiar etchings on the trophy she hoisted.

    “I get my name on it first,” Davies said. “This championship will be played for many years, and there will only be one first winner. Obviously, quite a proud moment for me to win that.”

    Really, all 120 players in the field made their marks at Chicago Golf Club. They were all pioneers of sorts this past week.

    “It was very emotional seeing the USGA signs, because I've had such a long history, since my teens, playing in USGA championships,” said Amy Alcott, whose Hall of Fame career included the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open title. “I thought the week just came off beautifully. The USGA did a great job. It was just so classy how everything was done, this inaugural event, and how was it presented.”

    Davies was thankful for what the USGA added to the women’s game, and she wasn’t alone. Gratefulness was the theme of the week.

    Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open

    The men have been competing in the U.S. Senior Open since 1980, and now the women have their equal opportunity to do the same.

    “It was just great to be a part of the first,” three-time U.S. Women’s Open winner Hollis Stacy said. “The USGA did a great job of having it at such a great golf course. It's just been very memorable.”

    Trish Johnson, who is English, like Davies, finished third, 12 shots back, but she left with a heart overflowing.

    “Magnificent,” said Johnson, a three-time LPGA and 19-time LET winner. “Honestly, it's one of the best, most enjoyable weeks I've ever played in in any tournament anywhere.”

    She played in the final group with Davies and runner-up Juli Inkster.

    “Even this morning, just waiting to come out here, I thought, `God, not often do I actually think how lucky I am to do what I do,’” Johnson said.

    At 54, Davies still plays the LPGA and LET regularly. She has now won 85 titles around the world, 20 of them LPGA titles, four of them majors, 45 of them LET titles.

    With every swing this past week, she peeled back the years, turned back the clock, made fans and peers remember what she means to the women’s game.

    This wasn’t the first time Davies made her mark in a USGA event. When she won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1987, she became just the second player from Europe to win the title, the first in 20 years. She opened a new door for internationals. The following year, Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann won the title.

    “A lot of young Europeans and Asians decided that it wasn't just an American sport,” Davies said. “At that stage, it had been dominated, wholeheartedly, by all the names we all love, Lopez, Bradley, Daniel, Sheehan.”

    Davies gave the rest of the world her name to love, her path to follow.

    “It certainly made a lot of foreign girls think that they could take the Americans on,” Davies said.

    In golf, it’s long been held that you can judge the stature of an event by the names on the trophy. Davies helps gives the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open the monumental start it deserved.