In Defense of John Daly

If you’re wondering why John Daly—for all of his faults—keeps getting exemptions on the PGA Tour, Detroit Free Press golf writer Carlos Monarrez explains:

Let me be up front. I’m not president of the John Daly fan club.

Daly has stiffed me for interviews several times. He almost has caused me and some colleagues to tumble like bowling pins because he couldn’t stop walking long enough to answer a few simple questions.

Still, I’m coming to Daly’s defense this week because he has been unfairly criticized recently by his coach, by fellow players and by the media.

It seems Daly’s main transgression these days is that he’s being himself. Big John. J.D. The Lion. Call him what you will, but he’s just the same tell-it-like-it-is, chain-smoking, beer-guzzling, troubled, endearing, honest heap of humanity he has always been.

Fans love him for it. After all, it’s not about what sports writers, coaches and other pros think of Daly. It’s about what he gives fans—a refreshing dose of honesty among the cookie-cutter world of pro golf.

That’s why it was a no-brainer for the Buick Open to offer Daly an exemption for this year’s tournament when he asked for one. If you remember the Tiger-like crowds Daly and his pal Kid Rock attracted to the final round of last year’s tournament, Buick officials would be fools not to beg Daly to return to Warwick Hills in June.

In other words: It’s all about the money that he can bring in. Tournaments will keep inviting him—using him—as long as there’s a breath left in his body.

I too, like Daly on many levels. He is refreshing. The stories of his generosity are heartwarming, and heartbreaking. He seems to me to be a genuinely good guy.

And that’s why I worry that the PGA Tour—by apparently ignoring his issues—is pushing him toward his doom.


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1 thought on “In Defense of John Daly”

  1. There is a rumor, widespread rumor, in Memphis, that Stanford is against giving Daly an exception to the Stanford St. Jude.  With the craziness last year where Daly led at the end of the first day to have him show up the second day with knife scratches on his face from his wife Sherrie- they don’t want to distract from the fact that now for the second year they will be bringing in some big names- I haven’t heard that Phil will be here again, but Vijay will be. 
      This truly would be shocking if they actually do this.  Every year, Daly has the largest group of fans walking with him on the first couple days, and still a fairly significant crowd on the weekend.  Daly’s crowd matched if not beat the crowd that Phil had for the first two days.  Cutting him would probably mean taking a hit of a thousand or so gate entries—even on the pro-am day, he brings in more folks than the celebrities do.


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