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Bad Actor
May 15, 2006
What fans see in a quitter like John Daly is a mystery to me
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May 15, 2006

Bad Actor

What fans see in a quitter like John Daly is a mystery to me

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John Daly knows funny. The funniest thing he did recently was file a lawsuit against a sportswriter, charging defamation of character. How can you defame a guy who just wrote a book, My Life in & out of the Rough, which all but brags about a long history of bad decisions?

Nobody makes Daly look worse than Daly himself. He claims to have lost $50 million to $60 million gambling. He has a problem with alcohol. (He first got drunk at 12.) He has smashed up hotel rooms and has had three failed marriages. (Wife Number 4 is in prison for money laundering.) He's grossly overweight--his PGA Tour bio lists him at 220, but 320 is closer to the truth. On his unreal Golf Channel reality show, Daly Planet, he's seldom seen without a cigarette or a beer. His book details his sexual appetite and recounts the day he and Wife Number 2 had sex 10 times.

Despite (or because of) such escapades, Daly has a big fan following. His mammoth drives, flawed personality and ignorant behavior (skipping the British Open champions' dinner, for example) only add to his antiestablishment appeal. Daly slides by with self-deprecating jokes and scores favorable press because he is, after all, a nice, sincere, down-to-earth guy who has a soft spot for kids and charities. Big John does have a big heart.

On the golf course, though, that big heart is often missing. He's the King of Quit. No player has walked off more courses, whether he's playing in the U.S. Open (1997) or the FBR Open (2005). Call him WD Daly.

Last Friday, in the second round of the Wachovia Championship, Daly was three shots above the cut line when storms halted play. He had just teed off at the 7th hole (his 16th of the day), a par-5 he can reach in two. Like a number of players who weren't going to make the cut, WD Daly called to say he wasn't coming back on Saturday morning to finish the round. The reason, he said, was that he'd hit an errant tee shot and he believed his ball was lost, which meant he'd have to re-tee, taking birdie--and any chance of making the cut--out of the picture. No problem, Tour officials told him. Curiously, the Tour's Shotlink computer system (admittedly prone to human error) showed that Daly's "lost" drive was in the left rough, 209 yards from the green.

When no-nonsense Deane Beman was Tour commissioner, Daly was suspended and shipped off to rehab. Current commissioner Tim Finchem met with Daly last week and suggested that Daly seek counseling. Finchem said that Daly's edgy TV show and racy book are unbecoming of a professional golfer.

"My life is unbecoming of a professional" was Daly's reply. He's right, and it's not funny anymore.

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