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May 25, 2016

John Daly

Benton Harbor, Michigan

JULIUS MASON: Good afternoon, welcome to the 77th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. John Daly, ladies and gentlemen. John, welcome to Benton Harbor, welcome to the PGA TOUR Champions, welcome to the 50-year-old club. And I guess this is like your 25th year anniversary from Crooked Stick, isn't it, from your first Major Championship.

JOHN DALY: 25, 26, somewhere in there, yeah.

JULIUS MASON: What's that all feel like?

JOHN DALY: I'm old.


But like I said, it's cool, this is the only sport in the history of sports that you can say you're a rookie again at the age of 50. So that's pretty nice.

JULIUS MASON: How is your game these days?

JOHN DALY: It's okay. A lot stuff I need to work on. I went, this is really -- Alabama was probably my sixth tournament since last August, so I haven't really been played a lot.

I had my knee drained in November right before I went to Turkey and was out a little bit. Couldn't get anything in the fall on the Regular Tour. So was fortunate to play the Turkish Open and defend the Beko, it's not a big tournament, but unfortunately, we lost Mustafa who sponsors that and the Turkish Open. And played Puerto Rico, missed cut by a shot, and Qatar, missed that cut by two shots.

But it was cool to get out and just now I know that I have a schedule that I can play and that's going to be really nice for me.

JULIUS MASON: So, speaking of your knee, are you healthy?

JOHN DALY: Am I ever healthy? No. But no, I feel pretty good right now. When the weather gets warmer, shoulder feels a little better, the ribs feel a little better, but if it's really hot, which I love it, I don't mind, I'm okay.

JULIUS MASON: And before we go to Q&A here, maybe touch upon playing this tour, playing with friends of yours that have been friends of yours forever, and many of those friends are World Golf Hall of Famers, just a little bit about your experience out here.

JOHN DALY: When I came out, all these guys were playing the TOUR. Even Hale Irwin was still playing the TOUR. It's just guys that care. The guys that play the PGA TOUR Champions, they're unselfish human beings and they got great hearts, and I think that's why a lot of them are in the Hall of Fame and a lot of them have had great success. They have always been great with people and they have been great with the younger kids growing up, as myself. Like Fuzzy and Stadler and Watson, even Norman, I know he doesn't play this tour, but those type of guys -- and the list goes on -- just how great, they took me under their wing when I came out. Basically, my first tournament was a sophomore in college in '86 and was fortunate to meet Raymond Floyd and Miller Barber and Nicklaus and all the greats. I was like nervous and all that.

But when it really started for me was '89 when I met Fuzzy at the St. Jude in Memphis and he said, hey kid, do you want to play nine? I'm like, oh, of course. And we became friends ever since. And you just don't, I don't sense that on the Regular Tour anymore, because, I don't know, everybody's just so good they don't need any help or any guidance or anything.

But I always remember the stuff that these guys did for me when I first came out here. Not only good, but when I did bad, they made sure they told me I did bad.

So, they're just a bunch of great guys and I love competing against them and the type of people you can have dinner with when you get done, no matter if you beat them or they beat you.

JULIUS MASON: Love it. Good deal. Questions?

Q. What are your impressions of this golf course?
JOHN DALY: Different. I think it's very challenging, not just from, not just the greens, but even the fairways are difficult for me right now. I only played it once, I'm hoping the more I play it, the better it will be. But you definitely have to hit the fairways and the greens are types of greens that, the way Nicklaus built them, there's not even, if they're 5,000 or 6,000 square feet, on some of them you might only be able to, you got to manage your ball on them.

I looked at 10 yesterday, there's three or four pin placements there that, if you're up top and the pin's in the front, you got no chance. But we have played courses like this before. They're a little more undulated than what I'm used to, but they're tough and if you don't hit, if you're not hitting out of the fairway, you really don't have a chance.

Q. Some of the guys have described the fairways as being generous. Will that allow you to hit the driver about as much as you would want?
JOHN DALY: I think I almost have to. Because I would rather have sand wedges and 9-irons and 8-irons coming into these greens than 4-, 5-, or 6-irons. Because, like I said, you've only got like, in certain, some of these, you only got 10 or 15 feet to deal with, if they're in the corners. So very, very difficult. Just got to be hitting your irons really, really well this week.

JULIUS MASON: I see Kerry Haigh in the back there if you want to give him any suggestions for hole placements, feel free.

JOHN DALY: Yeah, well -- don't know where to begin.


Unfortunately, there's some of them there's only room for four spots. But, no, it's going to be tough. It's a Major, that's what it's all about and so it's just going to be a very, very difficult test.

I know Colin won here two years ago and he won last year and he was telling me last week that you've really got to be precise with your irons and you got to hit fairways and it's more important sometimes to have a 30-footer than it is to have a 10-footer. Just got to soak that in and try and remember that, for me.

Q. You hear a lot of guys say that the golf course fits my eye or doesn't fit my eye. What does that mean to you? How do you interpret that?
JOHN DALY: Well, if you're strategically looking at 1 through 18, that means it doesn't fit their eye on all 18 holes. Which, a lot of par-3, they fit our eyes, if you can see it.

But I think to explain that more importantly, I mean, for me there's, I know yesterday, there's six or seven holes out there that don't fit my eye that you sit there and look at the tee box and say, well, I don't really comfortable aiming at that, I don't know if that's going to work or not. And then you kind of get a little not so positive thoughts in your mind.

So, it's just, you got it find a way to -- here you got to find a way to hit the fairways, to even have a chance to get it on the greens. But there's six or seven holes out there that didn't fit my eye yesterday, but I've got a 1-iron that I feel very, very comfortable with that I think I could thread through some of the bunkers if I need to. My whole point is just trying to hit fairways out here, because I think that's the only way that you can score well.

Q. Obviously, when people talk about John Daly, they talk about the power and the distance. How does your distance with the various clubs compare now to what it did say 15 years ago when you were winning Majors?
JOHN DALY: I think down from my probably my 5-iron is probably exactly the same and down to the L wedge, since I was 16 years old. The 4, 3, 1, driver, and stuff like that, I'm probably about 8 to 10 yards shorter on those. I don't know why the shorter irons, but everything's pretty much the same from 5-iron down, ever since I was 16 years old. But the longer clubs I'm not near as long. About 8 to 10 yards shorter on those.

Q. You mentioned having a regular schedule now. Talk about what it's like to have two Majors in a row, do you feel like you can bring some momentum into this week having played last week and do you think that that will continue to go on throughout the season, now that you have this regular schedule?
JOHN DALY: I hope so. I'm giving myself -- I played Houston, had a week off, so kind of starting over. I'm not real comfortable this week, but I think that what my career's done and when I played the TOUR and for all those years is when I play six, five, six, or seven, that's when I could really see the confidence coming and especially for the short game. I feel confident pretty much in the long game most of the time, but the short game is what -- unless you're competing day in, day out -- you're not going to be confident in that.

You can go practice all day long and do what you need to do to get ready, but when you're not in a situation, under the heat, under the gun, with the adrenaline going, it really does you no good, for me.

So, I'm not expecting a lot this week, just I'm hoping -- I would love to play great this week, but as long as I keep making a lot of birdies, for me that's the key, because I know I'm going to make mistakes, I know I'm going to make doubles right now, it's just trying to not make so many of them, until I got my game where I want it.

But that fourth, fifth, sixth week, I think some good things can really happen where I can feel confident enough to maybe having a shot at winning one.

Q. Any memories you have of your great PGA win on the 25th anniversary year and any thoughts about for the younger guys who are going to go back and play Crooked Stick this fall in the BMW Championship, even though I'm sure the golf course is a little different, Pete Dye's been out there digging around the last 25 years.
JOHN DALY: Oh, no, it was a great memory. It was a very -- that whole '91 championship was a blur. It went by so quick, because I got in late, late Thursday or early, early Thursday morning and teed it up for the first round and four days of golf went by so quick.

And back then, that golf course, I was the only one that could fly everything. And now the guys are going to go in, they're going to go, this isn't so bad, this isn't so long. It's going to be so much shorter for all hitters now, because everybody's gotten so long. That's their talent and that's a credit to the golf ball. It just goes further.

But I'm sure that I shot 12-under I think that week and I look to see some of our guys 18, 19, 20-under par winning that tournament. Easily.

Q. You talked about your expectations this week. What do you hope to do this week and what are your expectations on the PGA TOUR Champions?
JOHN DALY: For me right now just play. Play a lot. The more I play competitively, I feel, the better I get. I'm excited to be out here with these guys. There's great guys here. You can actually play golf with them, you want to beat their brains in as they want to beat me, but at the end of the day you can go out and have a drink with them and you can ask them anything you want and they will give you an honest answer that -- everybody out here's to help everybody. It's not -- we're old enough to know that we're not, probably a lot these guys, we're not going to be No. 1 in the world, in golf.

But we have goals and we want to win. And what's great about the PGA TOUR Champions is it's history. I think this is the 77th Senior Championship. That's history. And that's what we're a part of. And like I said in the thing at the end the other night, I think each week there's more Major winners playing on the PGA TOUR Champions than there is on the Regular Tour. And that's a pretty cool thing. That's history.

I'm just excited to be out here. But the schedule part of it is, I know where I'm going and most of the tournaments I know I'm playing on the weekends, which hasn't been something that's happened a lot in my career, but that's going to be cool to know that I can leave on Sundays and get a schedule. It just makes everything so much easier.

Q. Can you talk about, you mentioned early on in your press conference about the young guys now and I guess paralleling against the young guys when you came out. Were you as close to as ready to win or be productive on the PGA TOUR when you got out there as these guys are now?
JOHN DALY: I think so. I really do. Because I practiced really hard, the dreams were -- I had dreams to make it on the TOUR. I had goals to keep my card and do -- I worked just as hard as anybody else did. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't have done the things that I did.

My problem was, like I told everybody, when I did win, I got lazy. And in the '90s, I didn't work as hard. Everything was coming in so fast, money was coming in, and I'm not your typical, I wasn't your Jason Day, the way Jason does it. Once he wins, he's back at it again, he's working his ass off and wanting to keep winning and winning and winning.

I was enjoying the moment a little longer than most when I won my Majors.

Tiger was the same way. I think that you look at Jack Nicklaus, Watson, all those guys were the same way.

I just wasn't taught how to be that way. Nobody programmed me to be that way or I wasn't, I didn't even fathom the fact of being that way. I was more of an outgoing guy. I'm not a ball beater, I'm a player. I like to go play a lot of golf. I don't like to sit on range for three and four hours and hit balls.

One, I get complacent and then I lose it all, really, I just don't think about it, I'm just sitting out there three, four hours hitting balls. I would rather go on golf courses and hit three or four shots into holes.

But I think the difference in me and those guys were is they keep doing what they did to keep winning. I got lazy. And that's what happened to me in the '90s. That's why I didn't feel like I didn't give myself enough opportunities to win more tournaments.

JULIUS MASON: Good luck this week, John.

JOHN DALY: Thanks, Julius.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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