Bad Actor

What fans see in a quitter like John Daly is a mystery to me
May 14, 2006

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

Nobody makes Dalylook worse than Daly himself. He claims to have lost $50 million to $60 milliongambling. He has a problem with alcohol. (He first got drunk at 12.) He hassmashed up hotel rooms and has had three failed marriages. (Wife Number 4 is inprison for money laundering.) He's grossly overweight--his PGA Tour bio listshim at 220, but 320 is closer to the truth. On his unreal Golf Channel realityshow, Daly Planet, he's seldom seen without a cigarette or a beer. His bookdetails his sexual appetite and recounts the day he and Wife Number 2 had sex10 times.

Despite (orbecause 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 bywith self-deprecating jokes and scores favorable press because he is, afterall, a nice, sincere, down-to-earth guy who has a soft spot for kids andcharities. Big John does have a big heart.

On the golfcourse, though, that big heart is often missing. He's the King of Quit. Noplayer 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, inthe second round of the Wachovia Championship, Daly was three shots above thecut line when storms halted play. He had just teed off at the 7th hole (his16th of the day), a par-5 he can reach in two. Like a number of players whoweren't going to make the cut, WD Daly called to say he wasn't coming back onSaturday morning to finish the round. The reason, he said, was that he'd hit anerrant tee shot and he believed his ball was lost, which meant he'd have tore-tee, taking birdie--and any chance of making the cut--out of the picture. Noproblem, Tour officials told him. Curiously, the Tour's Shotlink computersystem (admittedly prone to human error) showed that Daly's "lost"drive was in the left rough, 209 yards from the green.

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

"My life isunbecoming of a professional" was Daly's reply. He's right, and it's notfunny anymore.

TRUST ME

by JIM GORANT

Forget the teens--Cristie Kerr is the top American onthe LPGA tour.

PHOTOJEFF CHIU/AP HOTSTUFF
Daly riffs on his many vices and his sex life in a new book.
ILLUSTRATIONChris Eliopoulos, Writer; Michael Penick, Artist; Chris Sotomayor, Color

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
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Eagle (-2)
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