Daly Loves Fans; Not Himself

Even if he had never recaptured the magic he once had while winning major championships and contending on Sundays, John Daly could have been one of the most popular players ever to pick up a club.

Sort of a 1960s guy dropped into the wrong decade.  A smoker.  Guy who couldn't stay married to the same woman for more than a year.  Liked to drink.  They used to say, unfortunately, that those guys were 'characters'.  Writers thought they made good copy.  And John Daly did make a good story for awhile.   Now he's just a sad one.

Daly's latest trouble was documented by the wire services, his picture showing a guy who couldn't walk a straight line, let alone line up a putt.   The stories written about him used to paint him as just sort of a crazy everyman.   Those days are over.  Daly is a danger to himself now.

It's a damn shame, too, because the tour really does need him.  Not to play on the Ryder Cup team.  Not anymore.  They just need Daly to be Brett Favre.  He has the talent.  Or did.  It's probably still there somewhere.  A guy with flaws who can be brilliant enough to make you stop what you're doing and watch.  He might make a spectacular shot or a 370-yard drive.  He might be a spectacular failure.  You never knew.  You just want to be there when it happens.  Celebrate when it goes his way.  Sympathize when it doesn't.  Pro golf doesn't have a lot of those guys.  Players who make you care.

You watch Tiger but he's so successful and powerful now you're more in awe of his ability.  Phil makes it interesting.  So does Anthony Kim.  Boo Weekley did for a few days.  Maybe he'll keep it up, but it's way too soon to know.    But most players don't have the personality and the jaw-dropping skills Daly once displayed.  Favre had his trouble with addictions but had the sense to realize what he was losing by giving in.  Hard as it was, he stopped with the drinks and the painkillers and won a Super Bowl.  He's answered the bell each and every Sunday.  In golf, you have to actually make it to Sunday and Daly has checked out on Thursday afternoon far too often.

In spite of his troubles, he never copped an attitude with fans.  He'll sit with anybody and have a beer.  Or six.  What makes him endearing has also gotten him into trouble.  Last weekend,  Daly had been signing autographs while blitzed out of his mind.  Some guys in that condition would tell fans to get lost.  Daly isn't that type.  He'd rather you drink with him.  It's too bad he can't offer them a spot in the next pro-am instead.

And show up without a hangover.