Love Story Saying troubles are behind them, John and Sherrie Daly come out smelling like a rose

February 23, 2004

Valentine's day usually brings out the best in people. John Daly,
for example, gave his wife, Sherrie, three dozen long-stem red
roses. He then gave himself and his legion of fans an even bigger
love offering--a playoff victory in the Buick Invitational at
Torrey Pines with a final score of 10-under 278. "I just love the
fans," he said afterward. "The drunk ones, the sober ones, all of
'em. I love 'em all."

Romance, unfortunately, tends to be a zero-sum game. "I kept
staring at the scoreboard, praying for other people to get
bogeys," Sherrie said on Sunday evening. "I know that's not nice,
but I didn't care about anyone but John." By the time she made
this admission, the yellow flag from the 18th hole was safely
tucked into her leopard-skin purse. The flag, even more than the
roses, spoke to the tenderness of the moment. It represented
Daly's first PGA Tour victory in 189 starts and his first with
Sherrie at his side. Daly's four previous Tour titles were shared
with his second and third wives, Bettye Fulford (1991 PGA
Championship, '92 B.C. Open) and Paulette Dean ('94 BellSouth
Classic, '95 British Open).

Daly's marital record is significant for two reasons: He is the
co-author of a splendid country song, All My Exes Wear Rolexes,
and he had his lawyers draw up divorce papers against Sherrie in
October. In those papers, which were never filed, the golfer
claimed that his wife physically and verbally abused him and had
kept him in the dark about a federal investigation that led to
her indictment last summer on money-laundering charges. "No human
being deserves what she's done to me," John told SI at the time.
To which Sherrie replied, "I think he has really gone nuts. I
think he has drunk himself to where his mind's not even right."

These days the marital outlook is rosier. "Since October there's
been no problem," Sherrie said on Sunday. "Not a cross word
between us." And whereas 2003 saw Sherrie put a choke hold on a
naked stripper who cozied up to John at a charity outing in
Little Rock, 2004 has been jealousy-free--at least by Sherrie's
account. "Now all the strippers stay away because they think I'm
a psycho."

Well, almost all of them. Photographs of Daly, clothed but
entwined with a topless vixen, popped up recently on the web site
of a Canadian porn star. Which only proves, as John said at
Torrey Pines, "everybody's got problems in life."

That little faux pas aside, all seems to be lovey-dovey with the
Dalys. John dotes on his four children. Sherrie faces the future
optimistically, dismissing her upcoming trial with a blithe,
"We'll let the jury decide." Seven-month-old John Patrick Daly
burbles happily.

Cupid, meanwhile, left San Diego on a high, his quiver empty.
When Daly tapped in for the birdie that beat Luke Donald and
Chris Riley on the first playoff hole, you could hardly see the
Outback blimp through all the love in the air. John loved
Sherrie. Sherrie loved John. John loved the fans. The fans loved
John. Someone even gave the Dalys two dozen more roses, which
Sherrie carried like an actress making curtain calls. "That's
five dozen roses this week," she said. "I can sprinkle rose
petals everywhere."

It sounded like a plan. --John Garrity

COLOR PHOTO: LENNY IGNELZI/AP (THE DALYS) MARITAL BLISS Daly got his first win since wedding his fourth wife. COLOR PHOTO: JENNIFER GRAYLOCK/AP (SMITH) COLOR PHOTO: RICHARD LAM/AP (BEISIEGEL) COLOR PHOTO: STEVE GRAYSON/WIREIMAGE.COM (SINGH)

Up & Down

[UP]

Anna Nicole Smith

The Trim Spa pitchgal and former model is back to her
elderly-millionaire-catching weight.

Jack Nicklaus

His official PGA Tour record of 14 straight top 10s
survives--for now.

Isabelle Beisiegel

She failed but resurrected a unique approach to playing with the
men: Monday qualifying.

[DOWN]

John Daly

His scorecard said 10 under, but Mr. Trim Spa was a good 10
over--as in 10 inches hanging over the belt.

Vijay Singh

He missed the cut by one, cooling talk of his challenge to
Tiger--for now.

Laura Davies

The first woman to play a European tour event, the ANZ
Championship, she finished next to last.

Trust Me

Torrey Pines South was tough on the Tour pros last week, but
wait until the 2008 U.S. Open. With the rough twice as thick and
even a zephyr off the Pacific, par will be terrific at this
7,568-yard brute.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)