Tiger and John

The PGA Tour as a matter of policy doesn’t publicize its disciplinary actions, but John Daly’s discipline file now has become part of the public record as a result of a lawsuit he initiated. The big galoot’s discipline file apparently runs to 465 pages covering eighteen years of misdeeds. He’s been fined $100,000 , suspended five times, place on probation six times, cited for “conduct unbecoming” eleven times, and tagged 21 times for failing to give his best effort. He’s been investigated for allegedly attempting to run down an ATF agent.

I find it interesting that, in spite of all his failings, Daly remains a fan favorite, while Tiger takes a beating for personal failings. At least 21 times, Daly has quit on the fans. No one would ever accuse Tiger of that—he’s the guy who won a US Open on a broken leg. I’m absolutely Tiger has been fined for bad language, throwing clubs and generally bad behavior, but I’m equally certain that (current troubles not withstanding), that Woody’s never given the Tour a reason to suspend or put him on probation.

So why do people love Daly, but scoff at Tiger? The difference, I think, is in the honesty. Daily is refreshingly, brutally honest about his own failings. He laughs at them, sings about them (All My Exes Wear Rolexes), and exposes himself on television for all to see through his reality shows. When Tiger’s failings—long kept hidden from view—are finally exposed, he goes into hiding, stages a controlled media event, lashes out at reporters and basically tells people that he’s sorry, but it’s none of their business. (He’s correct about this, but that’s not what people want to hear).

Daly doesn’t pretend to be someone he’s not. Tiger has. Daly won’t shut up. In his career, I doubt if Tiger has uttered ten unscripted sentences in public. Daly is “real,” and accessible to the fans. Tiger is an otherworldly Golf God, untouchable and unattainable. Big John has fans who like him, for all his faults. Tiger has fans because we admire his skills.

So John Daly is liked in a way that I don’t think Tiger ever will be. I think we see ourselves in John Daly, either in a “he’s just like me” or in a “there I go but for the grace of God” manner. Tiger, with his aloof manner, creates a wide gulf between himself and the public.

Mike Bianchi, in the Orlando Sentinal, chalks up the gulf to racism. If Daly were an NBA Athlete, Bianchi argues, he would be an outcast. But Bianchi’‘s wrong on this. There are plenty of NBA fan favorites with an antisocial background—Kobe? Charles Barkley, with his DUIs? Allen Iverson? Need I go on?

What Bianchi is missing is that these NBA stars remain popular because they’ve never made any real effort to hide their behavior. Indeed, in some cases, it seems to elevate their “cred.”

Just like Daly.

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4 thoughts on “Tiger and John”

  1. Probably a better way to put it is that John Daly is liked; Tiger Woods is admired* as a golfer.

    * I was going to say “respected”, but I think that’s reserved for Arnold Palmer.

  2. “Daly has quit on the fans. No one would ever accuse Tiger of that.”

    Tiger has never done anything for the fans or with the fans in mind. The US Open was all for him and his record chasing obsession.  As it turns out his biggest fans, his wife and kids, weren’t a big focus of his considering his behavior.

    People like John Daly because he appreciates them. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and you’ll see just how responsive he is to his fans and how much he appreciates the support they give him.

    All Tiger’s fans get for their adoration is the occasional smack in the head with one of his golf balls when his drives don’t stay in the fairway. I remember a span of a few weeks about three years ago when he was hitting at least one person a tournament. 

    And someone needs to remind this Bianchi, whoever he is, about Darryl Strawberry, the baseball player who got how many second chances after getting busted for drugs. That’s always irked me how he was excused by everyone but Pete Rose is banned for life. Drugs kill, betting on a game doesn’t (as long as you can cover the bet and don’t take out loans from suspicious-looking people). Just think of the message the MLB sent to kids – it’s ok to do drugs, you’ll get your jobs back too.

  3. Look at how we came to know Daly.  That is also part of the whole deal.  He was a 9th alternate for PGA Championship, and got to play at the last minute.  What a Cinderella story.  Tiger we were told from his teens that he would dominate.  We should admire his work ethic – but with John it is just raw talent and luck. 

    And then there is also the side story of the 1991 PGA, a spectator gets killed by lightning, and JD, who was barely a pro with no money, gives up $30k (of $230k in winnings, which 40% would also go to taxes) of his own money to the spectators family.  Not sure Tiger would have done that.  Even if he did, Tiger would have also reminded us of that in his little speech a couple weeks back – Daly barely talks about that, even though through his influence and generosity both of the spectators daughters have been successful (one I think is a nurse).


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