There’s a new John Daly
He’s almost 100 pounds lighter and no longer a lousy drunk, yet he’s
playing lousy golf.
“I played better when I was drunk,” says Daly in an interview with Ron
Green, Jr. of The Charlotte Observer.
“I was happy when I was a miserable drunk.”
When he hit the bottle hard, he won two
majors. While teetotaling he hasn’t made a top 10 finish in four
years. He hasn’t won on the tour since 2004. Yes, he did
briefly lead the British Open this year, but you must remember the
ocean breeze carries with it brine water contaminated by Scotch kegs
from the bottom of the sea.
Do we like the new John better? John was
always likable, maybe the most approachable and likable guy on the
tour. But now that he can make coherent sentences, is he a better
interview? Again, not necessarily. John was a witty drunk
with good ol’ boy folksiness.
But what about Hooters? They dropped him in 2009. Now that
he’s sobered up, will they re-sign him? We hope so, but when
you’re not playing very good golf, it’s a hard sell.
Is John as much fun to cover? Easy
answer: Hell no. John was a character, fat and tipsy, easy
to play with, easy to make fun of. When he passed out drunk,
lying down on the Hooters floor, it was something you couldn’t make
up. It was richer than any Joseph Heller novel. I dubbed
him the Crazy Guggenheim of golf, mainly because John looked like Frank
Fontaine, the old actor who played the drunkard Guggenheim. I
even wrote an article in 2008 (shown below) that highlighted the
exploits of the funner John.
THE CRAZY GUGGENHEIM OF GOLF
What’s the difference between golfer John Daly and a
283 pound drunk sprawled out on the floor at Hooters? John Daly can out
drive any other drunken fat guy… sprawled out on the floor at Hooters.
Actually that’s a trick question because John Daly
is always 283 pounds, always drunk, and every week, always
sprawled out on the floor at Hooters. Only reason this week was
different, someone new at the Winston-Salem Hooters called the police.
Actually, that’s not quite true. Someone from Hooters called EMS and
when Daly refused to go to the hospital, the paramedics called the
Here’s the deal: Hooters is John Daly’s biggest
sponsor, so you don’t expect an intoxicated escapade at Hooters to land
him in the pokey. You’d expect Hooters to have fronted him a cab to
escape the cops. Not only is Hooters Daly’s biggest sponsor, he’s their
biggest customer. It’s a natural marriage. Daly can walk into a place
and not have the biggest breasts. John’s face can be
beer-soaked-alcoholic-red but at Hooters folks will think he just fell
into a bucket of wing sauce. And if he has bloodshot eyes, he can blame
it on the 3-Mile-Island sauce, which he often does.
Like we say, natural marriage. Hooters tries to sell
itself as a place where good ol’ boys can have a good time. Who better
to represent a good ol’ boy having a good time than Mr “I believe
nicotine plus caffeine equals protein” Daly; a guy who has the Betty
Ford Clinic on speed dial, a guy who claims to have lost $ 50 to $ 60
million gambling, a guy who had been married three times to
good-lookers and has the knife wounds, assault charges and tabloid
divorces to prove it.
Still, despite his addictive personality and
obnoxious outbursts, fans still love him. To many fans Daly represents
the “everyman,” the non-country-clubber, the schlub who done good, the
redneck who took down the bluebloods, especially when he won the 1995
British Open. There is nothing more staid or more traditional than the
British Open. So did he attend the British open Champions Dinner? No
way. You might as well ask if NASCAR fans sip tea. He refused the
invite saying “You can’t get this fat boy into a suit.” Pleasing his
fans while not exactly enchanting himself with the Scots.
Will Hooters continue to sponsor Daly after this
incident? You think they might even play it up with a “Free Bucket of
Longnecks if You Find John Daly Sprawled Out at Your Hooters”
promotion. They could offer a John
Daly Cocktail, Big Enough to Stir with a Putter. On the other
hand, promoting a responsible good time is one thing but aligning
yourself with a fall-down drunk is another. A good example is when John
Daly did a series of ads for Maxfli golf balls titled “Go Long or Go
Home.” In these ads Daly was shown chugging beer in his golf
cart, then teeing up and hitting a golf ball off a beer can. The
Golf Channel showed the spots but CBS refused to air them. It didn’t
help that when these spots were running John Daly was checking himself
once again into Betty Ford.
We know John Daly represents a backlash against
political correctness. He’s like a real life Homer Simpson… except
Simpson was never kicked off British Airways for harassing a flight
attendant. Simpson never had his swing coach quit because he found it
too hard to coach a drunk. Sad for Simpson … and Daly, but drunks don’t
get the love they once did. The Rat Pack is long gone. Frankie
Fontaine’s Crazy Guggenheim wouldn’t play today although
scotch-swilling comedian Ron White makes a go of it. Those who identify
with Ron White pull for John Daly. But even Ron White knows a fifth of
bourbon and super hot chicken wings don’t mix. The question is will
Daly and Hooters continue to mix?
This last piece
was written in 2008 before Hooters dropped John in 2009. We think it’s
time for Hooter’s to give John another chance. After all, his pretty
girlfriend, Anna Cladakis, is Hooter’s promotional director and she’s
also responsible for sobriety and better health