John Daly Q&A: The Wild Thing tells Golf Monthly about his heroes growing up, his love for the Open Championship and about missing out on being picked for the US Ryder Cup team...
John Daly Q&A
Favourite golf course in the world?
St Andrews. I just fell in love with it the first time I played it. I’m not the most traditional of guys, but it’s the history of the place. I love the elements and I love the weather. I don’t mind bad weather, and I like the imagination that you need to play links golf.
Which gave you most pleasure – winning the PGA or the Open Championship?
I’d probably say the Open because it was won on the sacred ground where the game started. It’s going to go back to St Andrews time and time again. It’s not like the PGA, which moves around a lot. I have never had a chance to defend my PGA Championship at Crooked Stick.
How disappointed were you not to play in the Ryder Cup?
It’s been kind of tough to swallow. You think 1991 and 1995. Also 2004 – that was my best year, but I wasn’t even close to getting on the team. I guess I just didn’t play good enough to get on the team, and I guess I could have got picked if I did. But I just didn’t play well enough…
Tiger or Jack – who’s the best?
I love it because I was able to learn from the greatest player in the world, and he didn’t even know it, and now I’m going to see the greatest player in the world beat the greatest player’s records.
Heroes when you were growing up?
Fuzzy Zoeller, because of the way he played; Jack because of the way he won; Trevino because of his personality; Tom Watson for his steadiness and the killer in him; Craig Stadler, I was always looking to see if he would get mad because that’s the way I would always play golf, you know if I had a bad shot I would want to throw the club 200 yards and break it. I just loved all of them. They all had the personalities back then. They were easy to identify, because of the way their personalities were. Golf was so much fun to watch back then.
What about of the current crop? Who are the big characters in the game now?
You can’t tell me Tiger isn’t a character. The way he wins and his winning ways. He’s just always there. I like some of the younger guys like Rickie Fowler. Jason Day is a phenomenal player, as is Justin Rose. Adam Scott’s really starting to comeon. But, do they have the personalities of the Ben Crenshaws and the Stadlers and the Watsons? Not to discredit those guys, but they are not even close to having the personalities those guys had. But, on the other side, the guys today can’t do the things those guys got away with, because the media will crucify them. It’s crazy. So I’m sure the younger guys now would have more personality, but they are just so scared to do anything. But back in the day, hell you could do almost anything.
What’s the funniest thing you have seen on a golf course?
Hmmm, there have been a lot. But I loved it when my name was up in lights in the nineties and girls would just flash me! ‘Will you sign these please?’ Or they would pull their pants down and ask me to sign their butts. That was awesome! Some of them I didn’t really want to look at, but nine times out of ten they were pretty nice.
Can you pick out one shot you have played where you have gone ‘wow!’?
Not so much a shot, but a passage of play. I think in Houston in ’93, or maybe ’92 [we think it may have been 1994, Ed] – that week it was played at the TPC in Houston and during the practice round I made a two on 15, a par 5. I was playing with Fuzzy and some other guys. That same week, in the tournament, I eagled 15 and made a one on 16, and they put a plaque there.
I made a really good run to try and win the tournament. I think I finished fourth [maybe tied 7th – Ed]. But that was just an awesome finish – to shoot something like six- or seven under on the back nine to come back, and it got me into the Tour Championship.
Tell us about the Loudmouth gear…
It’s been fantastic! That round in Spain, when I first wore the gear (in 2009), it created so much interest. The next day people were like ‘what’s he gonna wear?’ It’s the first brand that I’ve been with that I feel I have helped build. That’s such a great feeling!
The clothes are very expressive and I feel great wearing them, and it’s just a blast seeing what designs are going to come out next. It’s so much fun. Loudmouth hasn’t changed me, but I think it has changed a few other pros who have started wearing it. They have come out of themselves a little more. It’s a brand that works and is fun. What more could you want?