John Daly: Grips It and Gripes It
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

John Daly always finds a way to make himself a victim

Two-time major champion John Daly is having a superb week at the Farmers Insurance Open through two rounds. Daly, who doesn’t have status on the PGA Tour and relies on sponsor’s exemptions to play, shot 67-69, eight-under total, and currently stands at T3. Impressively, he shot the 67 on the South Course, the harder of the two tracks at Torrey Pines. After the stellar showing on Thursday, Daly, who hasn’t seen the inside of a press room in some time, took the opportunity to moan about tournaments rejecting his request for sponsor’s exemptions. Mind you, he’s already received two in the first three events this year.

I’ll tell you this: I’ll never go back to the Hope and I’ll never go back to Phoenix, no matter what happens. I won’t even send letters anymore. I’m not saying that to ditch the tournaments. I’m just saying that if you look at my past, everything the Thunderbirds have ever wanted me to do for 20 — well, 17, 16 years I’m sure I did it for them. I helped get celebrities go to the Hope. I helped them out. I went to their parties and did everything for them. That is the kind of stuff that we all want our young players to do out here to help the tournaments, and I felt like I did my part. It hurt me for those two tournaments not to give me spots. So I’ll go to Europe on those weeks.

I mean, honestly. I’m sure Daly has contributed tons to the Hope and the Phoenix Open, but he can’t expect to receive one of two/three sponsor’s exemptions available at every single tournament. As much as I’d like to see Daly really stage a comeback and win again, it bothers me every time he blames others for his so-called troubles and expects free hand-outs for the contributions he’s made. No doubt he probably helped both tournaments, but it’s like he doesn’t appreciate the hundreds of opportunities and second, third, and twelfth chances people have given him.

My biggest issue with his griping is Daly doesn’t enter Q-school. Six grueling rounds to earn his card back? No way would he put himself through the bother. It’s possible to argue that Daly has already paid his dues, and hence, should get a free pass. Wrong. Lee Janzen, also a two-time major champion, stuck it through all six rounds of Q-school last December and didn’t come anywhere near getting his job back. So why doesn’t Daly go to Q-school?

I don’t know. I don’t like a fifth major where you don’t…It’s a tough decision. I know it was great. Billy Mayfair went in it. But I don’t think right now I need to. Like I said, I’m sort of a life exempt on the European Tour. I feel my majors will still hopefully get me in 15 events each year. If not, I’ll think about it. But for me to go to Q-school is just tough. I feel I don’t really need to go that route yet because of the European Tour.

In other words, he’s lazy. If he doesn’t need to go that route, then stop grumbling about not getting into events.

Daly definitely still has a huge following, and after Tiger and Phil, he often has the biggest galleries. Thing is, he can’t put four good rounds together to earn his way back on tour. And unlike many younger players and those scraping by every year for a spot, Daly doesn’t seem to appreciate the opportunities he’s given. Don’t complain when you’ve received two of three sponsor’s exemptions already this year. (He even admitted to screwing over the Deere last year — albeit “unintentionally” — because he forgot about another commitment.)

Go to Q-school! Or win this week. Or go play in Europe! Daly’s done great things for golf, but golf doesn’t owe him (where would he be without golf? Probably still in some trailer park in Arkansas).

(AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)