JOHN DALY may still be known in many quarters as “The Wild Thing” but apart from the amazing clothing ensembles he sports on the golf course, he has toned things down in many other respects.
He is virtually only half the man he once was as he explains how surgery a few years ago helped him to reach his goal of keeping his weight between 190 and 195lbs.
“I’ve lost 115 to 120lbs but the gastro or lap band (the process he underwent to achieve the weight loss) is something you don’t want to do,” he advised before adding ominously: “Too many people have died from that.”
Daly has returned to these parts to prepare for next week’s Open Championship at St Andrews where he won the claret jug in 1995. He loves the place, though, for other reasons as well. “1994 said it all for me when Payne (Stewart), Freddie (Couples) and I won the Dunhill Cup,” he recalled. “A lot of Americans told me that you’re either going to love it or hate it. I fell in love with St Andrew’s. It just seems to fit my game and I think that helped me to win the British. I’m not the most traditional or historic type of player but I do believe that’s where golf was founded and started and all of the people who have walked on the grounds and won there and stuff.”
Could he win again next week – or does he no longer have the motivation? “I’m hoping, this is more a sort of a comeback with the injuries and everything and, you know, I don’t really have a lot to prove,” he mused. “Except to myself, that is. I wouldn’t keep playing if I didn’t think I could still win.”
And Tiger, a man for whom he has always had a close relationship and one that hasn’t suffered in spite of the many off-the-golf course difficulties that both have experienced?
“I remember when I met his mom and dad and they were always looking for the perfect teacher for him,” he recalled. “I don’t think he’s found another teacher and he’s a guy that’s always had a teacher. He hasn’t gotten used to that. But Tiger is so talented that it’s not going to take much.
“He loves St Andrew’s probably as much as I do. He’s still the best player in the world.”
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