Guest Blog: "In Defense of John Daly"
By Stephanie Wei under General

Last Friday when I found out I wouldn’t have internet access for a few days, I sent out a Twitter blast asking for people to contribute posts. Reader David Kelly was kind enough to pass along his thoughts on John Daly.

To recap, after Daly missed the cut last Friday, he told the Golf Channel, “I’m done. I’m done.” Done with what? “Golf. I can’t compete. I can’t play like I used to. I can’t keep taking spots from guys out here playing this bad. It’s not worth it,” Daly clarified. This left many to wonder whether it was just John Daly being John Daly or if he was actually serious. As it turned out, it was what most assumed — the former.

Later that evening, Daly explained himself via his Twitter feed, saying, “I’m not retired & never said that I was retiring” and “The interview yesterday caught me after a tough 2 days & much frustration.” He also revealed he was having money problems and didn’t “like to continue to embarrass myself.”

Without further ado, read on for David’s take.

The long strange trip that is John Daly’s career showed us once again at Torrey Pines that he is human.

His skeptics were quick to jump to conclusions that he had “retired” or that it was all will say a publicity stunt for his new show on Golf Channel. They said he should listen to his own words and leave the tour for good. After all, these are the same people who don’t think JD belongs on the tour in the first place. These are the same folks that think he brings down the game.

These are also the same people who should be thanking John Daly that they have a job where they can complain and snipe in the first place.

John Daly carried this sport out of what was a long journey down into oblivion. If Crooked Stick had never happened – from Nick Price going down to being able to reach down to the 9th alternate – no one would care what Tiger Woods was doing afterhours. It would have a following comparable to tennis – nice and consistent but that is about it.

The tour in 1991 was floundering. The GGO was one of the highest winner’s purses on tour. Corey Pavin won the money title and didn’t break the the $1 million mark in 25 events. The total tour purses were right around $47 million, slightly up from the $46 million in 1990. Compare that with the ‘92 and ‘93 purses ($49 million and $53 million), and you can see where the tour started to take its first steps into the mainstream.

The tour needs more personalities like John Daly, especially in a non-Tiger sighting era. And we have some non-conventional golf personalities emerging – Boo Weekley, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Ryan Moore. They don’t come off as guys who grew up with junior memberships to the local country club. (In full disclosure, I plead guilty).  But they don’t also seem to bring the star power, good or bad, that JD does.

Whether he wins or not on the PGA Tour is not important. Hopefully, he will find a place where he is happy with his game and keeps teeing it up again. It should be noted that the last time we wrote him off, he won at Torrey Pines. Before that, he won at St. Andrews.  As he has shown by keeping his commitment to play at Pebble, there is no quit in John Daly.

I have been an unapologetic Daly fan since that day in 1991. I feel like I have seen a friend go exercise his demons in public and come out on the other side. Golf needs John Daly. He has been better for golf than the golf establishment has been to him.

While I don’t agree with David that Daly shaped the modern Tour and paved the way for Tiger’s fame (or notoriety these days), I do believe Daly is good for the game. But without golf, where would Daly be? Golf made Daly a celebrity and provided him with a great living. He arguably threw away some of his talent with the poor decisions he made. Now everyone encounters troubles and deserves second chances — hell, even third, fourth or sixth chances sometimes. But it seems Daly still has some demons to deal with and needs to stop blaming outside forces for his setbacks. That said, I hope he can overcome them and would like nothing more than to see him succeed — especially win again.

Your thoughts? Agree or disagree with David? Please chime in. Thanks again to David for contributing!