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Daly, Tiger role reversal has the golf world reeling

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.

Another change in the odd Woods-Daly dynamic [San Francisco Chronicle]
Daly: Golf needs Tiger [ESPN]

  1. Larry - Dec 11, 2009 at 10:08 PM

    Of course the PGA Tour ratings will be down some, but before Tiger they were doing pretty well. He pushed them over the edge to another level and people are used to the very special play. The tour went on successfully when Jack left the tour in the late 1980s and it still will if some of the young kids start playing to their level of possible play. What does hurt the game is the game’s next best player Phil Mickelson is about 40 and how long will his good play continue. Els, Singh and Goosen are falling by the way side. The game really takes a hit if Mickelson cannot play to his potential long and no young players, some that are very charismatic and very good, don’t step up. In that case the void will be very large.

  2. sid walker - Dec 13, 2009 at 3:31 PM

    As a retired army officer, I learned that no one is irreplaceable.If
    Tiger’s star sets, there will be a rising star in the wings. However
    I believe he will survive these scandals although if he does he
    should hereafter known as an outstanding golfer but not as a role
    model. That will mean his endorsements will (and should) take a hit.
    I personally would not be impressed by any endorsement he made unless it was for golf equipment,.