Maybe one of the most shocking pieces of golf news to come out in years has rocked the PGA: John Daly, 300+lb. golfer and winner of two major championships, would rather get drunk than play golf.
I know, I know. It's tough to believe. But we have it straight from a reliable source: Butch Harmon.
Harmon is Daly's swing coach. Well, at least he was. He used to be. Recently, though, he quit.
His reason? And I quote:
“My whole goal for him was he’s got to show me golf is the most important thing in his life,” Harmon said from his golf school in Las Vegas. “And the most important thing in his life is getting drunk.”
Seems that Daly had a minor bit of a meltdown at the recent PODS Championship this past weekend. During a rain delay, Big John spent a lot of time in the Hooters corporate tent, drinking beer and mingling. Then he went out and shot a 77. He followed that up on Friday with an 80. Listen, I am not lying when I tell you that I could shoot an 80.
So Daly missed the cut. But rather than go out and practice the next day—or heck, even going home to mope—Big John says to himself, "Gee, that Hooters corporate tent is probably still hopping." So he heads back for more beer, signs some autographs (signing one on a woman's pants...classy), and just generally hangs out.
Now, for all I know, it's common practice for golfers who miss the cut to stick around an extra day so they can schmooze and booze in the tent of a beer and chicken wing joint. I'm certainly no professional golfer. But somehow I doubt it.
Let's take that superhuman alien robot we know as Tiger Woods as an example. When was the last time you heard a story about him getting drunk or signing autographs in weird places or anything like that?
Because the one or two times Tiger has missed the cut, I'm quite sure he was up at 4 am the next day hitting the driving range.
Tiger—the undisputed "winner" in the PGA—cares more about winning golf tournaments than he does about drinking or socializing.
Daly, well...Daly just doesn't seem to care about much at all, eh?
I mean, this is a dude who lights up cigarettes on national television in the middle of a tournament round, for Pete's sake. This is a man who resembles John Goodman, so he's obviously no stranger to cheeseburgers. This is a man with a history of gambling problems, who was married to a woman who got in legal trouble related to a gambling ring.
With Daly it has been scandal after scandal after scandal...all related to one of three things: women, alcohol, or gambling. It's sort of the PGA's equivalent of "sex, drugs, and rock & roll." But does the PGA really need or want a rock star?
It's pretty clear Harmon doesn't think so:
“You don’t see guys who are any good doing that,” he said. “All the guys I work with are working their (tails) off. John didn’t have it. I like the kid, but he’s got to get his head on straight. The partying and other shenanigans, if that’s the way he wants to be, I don’t choose to be a part of it.”
Every day, golfers across this country go out on the links and get drunk while they hack away on their way to an 88. John Daly does that for a living.
He gets paid to be just like that rowdy foursome you see on every course you've ever played. If you forced him to choose, Daly would rather get drunk than play golf, and sometimes he gets drunk BEFORE he plays golf...and yet he's still on the PGA Tour.
For that reason alone, he will always be a hero to many.
After all: if a 300 pound alcoholic gambling addict who smokes can be a professional golfer—without having to score under 80 very often—then there's indeed hope for the rest of us.