John Daly Resurfaces
I read this morning that John Daly, one of the most interesting, non-cookie-cutter golfers in the history of the game, shot a 68 at the BMW in Shanghai yesterday…or was it today? Ah, time zones.
For me, it’s a touch of Christmas when Daly resurfaces, not because it gives me good material, but because something in me is happy for him. It reminds me that we have until our last breath in this life to get it right, or at least get it together, and Daly gives me something to cheer on, in him and myself. The truth is, as I see it, that despite the extreme nature of his public and private life that makes him seem so different from everyone else, none of us have gotten it completely right, and standing in a self-righteous state of judgment indicates no less of an addictive personality in us – one man’s superiority serves as well as another man’s booze, and being above someone else can be wonderful fun. I’ve been rough on Daly in the past – I know.
Yes, Daly has been entertaining as the eternal college frat boy. Our society craves an increasing dosage of things to ooh and ah about, and he has served admirably, but behind the entertainment, any sentient being knows that it isn’t really fun, or funny, for him or for those who are important to him – and that’s all the more reason why I hope he shoots three more rounds like the first one.
Besides all the silliness and pathos, Daly has overcome injuries to get here, and says that it’s good to have two good arms again, after years with only one. Playing in stiff winds, he seemed newly able to keep it down and manage the three-quarter shot on a consistent basis. If he can also manage the defeatism that could make him put six or seven fairway woods in the water and walk off the course, there’s no reason why those other good rounds can’t happen.
After all, he’s still only 47. After what he’s put himself through, I would have thought that he was much older. Golfers can still win stuff at 47, without joining the Champions Tour to win even more stuff. Daly has the curse and blessing of being able to hit a golf ball just as far as any twenty year-old, and when they’re going straight, he’s chipping and putting early – big advantage if you can put eighteen of those into the same day, four times.
The manic nature of Daly’s professional and personal ups and downs is legendary. He’s won 2 majors, but never got a Ryder invitation – he’s the only one to do that. He’s gone from blazing rounds in the low 60s to long stretches of barely breaking 90. He’s been from 180lbs (hard to believe – that’s my range, and he’s two of me) to 300 plus, Rookie of the Year to mug shot in the Post Office.
Still, he’s shot some decent rounds this year. The eternal problem, of course, is putting together a string of them. Most of Daly’s recent tournaments are missed cuts or withdrawals, but with his new arm, maybe he can put together four days of confidence to match the “Long John” drives and the new subtleties in the high Asian wind.
With all my hopes for John Daly, though, there’s one area of self-righteousness I can’t get over. I’m against cookie cutter as much as the next guy. I appreciate individualism, but he’s got to get a fashion consultant. John! You look like a late night test pattern in fifties TV – Mind my own what? Oh, all right.