The Spanish Open begins in Seville today without the two Spaniards who helped Europe win the Ryder Cup two years ago.
Sergio Garcia and Jose Maria Olazabal are both competing in the United States instead, but while they do that one of America’s best-known golfing figures is part of the field at the Olazabal-designed Real Club.
Former Open and US PGA champion John Daly, no longer the holder of a US Tour card after a slump to 595th in the world rankings, is in Europe for the next two weeks.
And it has not taken him long to air some typically frank thoughts.
On his decision not to try to qualify for next month’s US Open, the 42-year-old said: “If I get exempt I’ll play, but my chances of winning the US Open are better on the blackjack table.
“That shows you how bad the odds are.
“At least they’ve narrowed it down to one bad hole. From what I saw at Shinnecock a few years ago I don’t know why the players didn’t boycott the tournament.
“I’ll never understand that. I wouldn’t have played it. You hit it five feet above the hole and next thing you’ve got a 30-yard chip shot. It doesn’t make sense to me.”
On why he likes playing in Europe, Daly commented: “I think there is a lot more camaraderie over here than our tour, where it’s more ’to each his own’.
“Here you have dinner, have fun, hang out a bit. Our tour’s just not that way any more.”
And on the stories of his heavy drinking at events this year, he stated: “It’s been pretty much a bunch of lies written and it’s been pretty sad. I’m used to it by now. I’ve lived my life with it.
“I am fine. Yeah, there was drinking involved, but that does not mean I am drinking.
“The assumption my whole life has been that no matter where I go I end up drinking every night, but I am not.
“I will turn it on when I am home with my buddies – who wouldn’t? – but at tournaments I hardly ever drink, if at all.
“That’s the way it’s been for a quite a while with me. The way the media come up with all these rumours has been pretty sad, but what can you do?
“The people around me know I am doing the right things. The hard work will pay off pretty soon – I will be back and I want the fans to know that. I will be back.”