Dec 11, 2009, 6:30 PM EDT
When this picture was taken, John Daly was the Curly Howard of golf; always getting into impossible scrapes and whining plaintively to Moe after his latest misadventure with a Hooters waitress: “I’m a victim of circumstance!” And Tiger Woods was, well, Tiger Woods. But now, as if in a Dr. Frankenstein experiment, the two have suddenly traded personalities.
Now it’s Daly, 115 pounds more svelt and sans his trademark cigarettes and Budweiser, who is defending Tiger; the latter holed up in his Orlando mansion with alleged missing teeth and an even more damaged reputation. We’re officially through the looking glass, people. What next, Lawrence Phillips on Sesame Street?
When asked about Woods’ car crash last week, Daly stuck up for Tiger by pointing out that the Tour wouldn’t be the same without its best player. It’s hard to argue with that, actually. So Daly is the voice of logic now?
“I don’t really care what happened between Tiger and … whatever happened. I’m just glad he’s OK,” said Daly, preparing for the Australian Open. “We need him, probably more than anybody on the tour, to keep things going, the way the economy is.
“Tiger’s the biggest asset the tour’s had in a long, long time,” he said. “Whatever happened, as long as he’s OK that’s all that matters.
“Golf needs him badly … no doubt.”
Turns out Tiger and Daly have a history; Woods playing Tom Hanks to Daly’s John Candy (Splash, anyone?).
From Gwenn Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle:
San Francisco saw the connection between these two rather vividly in 2005, during the Amex Championships at Harding Park, which ended in a playoff between the model of rectitude and the chain-smoking author of the song “All My Exes Wear Rolexes.” Woods reveled in watching another of Daly’s renaissances, slapping his hand as the two crossed paths at one hole and talking about “J.D.” as if he were a frat brother.
In those moments when he tired of being a symbol, when he wanted the golf to be about nothing but golf, how could Woods not have felt a certain kinship with Daly? When Daly missed a simple 3-foot putt to lose their playoff at Harding, Woods bent his head and covered his eyes, unable to celebrate his win. It would have been tacky to rejoice in the mistake, but the moment didn’t require such an extravagant display of regret.
So many fans have always wondered what Daly could have achieved if he had even half of Woods’ self-control. Well, now we’re about to find out how Tiger fares after revealing he has a fraction of Daly’s flaws. He might want to adopt one of Daly’s virtues, as well: a fearlessness about the truth.
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