home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


April 9, 2002

John Daly


JIM BLANCHARD: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for such a nice turn out. I'm delighted to welcome John Daly to Augusta. John, as you know, is the winner of the '91 PGA Championship, and he also is the winner of the 1995 Open at St. Andrews. He finished third here at Augusta in the Masters in 1993. He is certainly one of the most popular players with our patrons at Augusta and one of the most popular golfers on the Tour around the world, and I'm going to ask John, if he would, to make a few comments, and then I'll recognize you for your questions. John?

JOHN DALY: It's great to be back. You know, it was a goal of mine to get back and the only way I could have gotten it done, I think was to get in the Top-50 and I accomplished that goal and it's just great to be back. I love the changes of Augusta. Longer is always better for me while I'm still somewhat young, anyway.

But it's just great to be back. I think it's -- I think when I came here in '92, I kind of took for granted my exemption status, not thinking it would end, and this means more to me being here this year than probably any other year. So, I'm just delighted to be here.

JIM BLANCHARD: Thank you. Questions?

Q. If you're so happy to be here, John, what do you think your chances are? Can you carry this to the limit and be a winner this year?

JOHN DALY: I don't know. I love the way I'm hitting the ball. I'm not putting real well. Like I said yesterday, it's not a good place to come when you're not putting too good. But I'm not -- I'm lagging the ball real well. I've been here enough to know almost where the pins are going to be, so basically, it's a lag putting golf course and if they go in, it's great, just try and avoid 3-putts.

The way the changes are, the ball is not going to be spinning as much because we are having a little bit more clubs into the greens, which I think is an advantage for me. So, if I could just get the putter going a little bit, not forcing it, but just hopefully hit a lot of greens and have a few -- hopefully make a putt or two, but if I could 2-putt them, it would be nice.

My key this week is going to be getting off to a decent start.

Q. Can you talk about the turning point that led you from 500 and whatever in the World Rankings to where you are now? Was there something that motivated you to get back to the level you once were at?

JOHN DALY: I didn't like where I was at in the world. It seemed like I didn't take the World Rankings that seriously when they came out. But then I see that time 506 and I said, whoa, wait a minute, the only way I'm going to be able to play in all of these golf tournaments is if I get in the Top-50, the world championships and most of the majors now, or the other two, hopefully. Luckily I'm in the British and PGA for life.

But it just seems like it's the most important way to get into all of the big-field tournaments. So that was my goal, was to get in the Top-50 before Augusta this year, and hopefully, play in the other World Championships, as well.

Q. And in terms of just general rededication to golf, what was it that led you to that?

JOHN DALY: I don't know if it was rededication. I think it was more focusing on one thing than it was anything else. When you tee it up, you want to win. But it makes -- it made me try an awful lot harder in the last two years because it meant something. You know, even if I wasn't playing good, if I made the cut and didn't have a chance to win, at least I could get some points. And so it made it -- made me grind and focus a lot harder than previous years.

Q. With the changes, how much harder per day stroke-wise do you think the course is, and do you think it could be less exciting because of fewer birdies and eagles?

JOHN DALY: I think the scores, it's probably a 2- to 3-shot harder golf course this year, I think.

You know, the course, before they made the changes, you could -- we were hitting sand wedges, wedges, not too many players were hitting anything more than a 7-iron into any of the par 4s. And now playing with Fuzzy, he says he's gone from playing with 8-irons into par 4s to 3- and 4-irons. He says it's going to be very tough for him.

But that's the changes that have been made and it's going to make the golf course a lot more difficult because, you know, when you can hit a sand wedge or wedge into these holes, you can place it where you need to hit it on the greens. And now, trying to place it with a 7-iron or 8-iron or 6-iron is a lot more difficult. I think it's just a great test of golf. It's a lot harder than it has been in the past and I think that's probably good for me.

Q. What are the toughest holes on the front for you, or the most difficult holes?

JOHN DALY: Every one of them when you're hitting it like shit, I can tell you that. (Laughter.)

There's nowhere to miss it on the greens. You miss it one spot on the left, on 1 you hit it left of the green you're dead. 12, I'm not going to hit driver, I'm going to hit 3-wood and just leave it short of the bunker. The last few times I played, I hugged the left side and I don't have a second shot. So I have to play the golf course a little more conservative off the tees than in the past.

Q. How much tougher is 4 than the other par 3s?

JOHN DALY: I think 12 is the toughest par 3.

4, at least you can somewhat judge what club you need and the green is a little bigger.

6 is a par 3 that, you know, you hit in the middle of the green and still have somewhat of a chance to 2-putt, whether the pin is back right, left or middle.

12, I could never judge the wind. I think a lot of us have problems judging the wind there.

But the front nine, for some reason, I think is always a side that if you play it even par, 1 -, 2 -, 3-under par, you're in the tournament, and that's if you play the back nine halfway decent.

Q. You said that you appreciate being back here more. Do you also appreciate whatever you get out of the game now more than you did, say, five, six, or even ten years ago?

JOHN DALY: A lot more, I get a lot more out of my game. I don't focus on the bad shots like I used to. I just try my hardest on every shot. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. I don't really get that mad anymore. It's more or less just grind it out.

Like I said, the World Rankings have given me something to focus on more than anything else, and it's kept me in a lot of rounds.

Q. With regard to the Masters, how difficult was it not to be here last year, and what were you doing that week, Masters week last year?

JOHN DALY: It was difficult not to be here. But I think I had my kids, so I had a lot of fun with them.

Q. You just stayed at home?


Q. Did you watch at all?


Q. Can you describe your mindset the last time you were here, as you drove away, versus maybe today? And also, when you left the golf course that day, did you wonder if that would be the last time you would be back?

JOHN DALY: I did. I definitely did. I hated to play that bad, wondering if I was going to be back here or not.

You know, I don't dwell on it. I'm just happy to be here this year, and everything is more positive in my life, not just golf but outside of golf now, that has given me the opportunity to focus a lot better. So I don't need to dwell on the negatives on the past or anything. I'm just happy and tickled to be here. I feel like I'm hitting the ball good enough to play well. It's just a matter of, you know, putting the ball in the right spots on the greens and hopefully putting half-decent.

Q. You said something about playing more conservatively off the tee than in the past. Mickelson has talked about how he is not going to change his style and that he cannot play conservatively, do you think that's a key in these majors, to winning, knowing when to throttle back?

JOHN DALY: I'm talking more or less for me, 13 has always been a tough one for me, because the tee is 25 yards back. It's a perfect 3-wood and I can aim at the trees on the right and not go through them.

18 is a perfect 3-wood hole for me because I can't hit that in the bunkers. So it's still aggressive. I'm going to hit aggressive, it's just no driver -- they have taken eagles -- well 2 is definitely not an eagle hole like it used to be, because if I hit driver and miss it right, it's in that bunker.

But Phil, the way he's been playing, he's won 20 times, and he's going to win a major. I don't see why he should change. He says he doesn't have fun if he starts playing real conservative. Everybody knows he's missed a couple short putts that's cost him a lot of tournaments and he knows that. He's one of the best ball strikers, chippers and putters in the world. Like I said last night on Golf Talk Live, if he had won a couple of majors, nobody would be talking about it. I don't see where he should change it. I think he throttles back sometimes. I think there's holes out here that he is probably not going to hit driver on as well.

Q. We would probably be saying the same thing about you if you had not won those two majors, but do you ever think of, why me instead of Phil or David or someone else?

JOHN DALY: I don't know. I mean, it's like if you asked Phil, would he rather have the 20 tournaments he's won on TOUR or the two majors and he's answered to me, the two majors and I said, "Well, shit, do you want to change pocket books?" (Laughter.)

I think I won -- when I won the PGA, it was 230,000 and now if you win the PGA, it's like 800,000 and the British Open moved up 400,000 in '96 when Lehman won.

Personally I'd rather have my two majors than his 20 wins, and I think he feels the same way. But I have no idea how or why. They can't take my name off of them, that's for sure, which is nice.

Q. It seems like at this stage of your life, you seem to appreciate things more. Can you describe in words how special it would be to be in contention on Sunday here?

JOHN DALY: It would be wonderful. It would be awesome to be coming down the stretch with Tiger because that's what everybody wants. It would be great for media, it would be great for golf, it would be great for the fans, and I could learn something, too.

I think I appreciate more things because I'm getting older. I'm sort of a late maturer in about everything, and that's kept me back, I think, three or four years.

You know, it's just so great that my life is positive now. I didn't know if it was ever going to happen, and that's the most important thing about life. You battle your ups and downs and I'm still fighting, and I'm waking up every morning knowing that, hey, I'm playing the greatest game, what I've always wanted to do, and, you know, I just feel like I like myself a lot better than I used to.

Q. David Duval was saying that being in contention here on Sunday, he feels sick and at the same time ecstatic. You have not been in major pressure on a Sunday afternoon in a while; do you think you will have those same sort of feelings?

JOHN DALY: I hope I don't feel sick, but it will be nervous energy, yeah. But winning the BMW and having a few chances last year -- it's not like I've been in contention a lot of times, but I've felt the heat. Me and Padraig Harrington at the BMW was just an awesome 18 holes on Sunday; either one of us could have won. And that was really cool to handle the pressure the way I did and finally get him on the last hole.

So I've been in some of the situations but nothing like a major feeling. If it happens, hell, I'd just love to be there, whatever happens, happens.

Q. Could you just elaborate, specifically, on some of the things that have turned your life so positive and what has you in the frame of mind that you are in now?

JOHN DALY: Well, I think being at home and practicing in my backyard, Players Turf like I told everybody. I've got three greens there now to work on my short game and everything. I've got a wonderful family. Like I told everybody, I got off the medication on my own. It was killing me. Bloated to 260 pounds and had no energy and it gave me the energy to go out and work on my game and I have the energy with my kids and everything again.

So those three things pretty much it.

Q. What medication was it?

JOHN DALY: Name it and they had me on it. (Laughter.) I felt like a rat. (Laughter.)

Q. You have played a lot in Germany, Canada, internationally, and everywhere you go, people seem to really like you and cheer for you and root for you. Has that changed? Do you find people like you more now than ever?

JOHN DALY: I feel a little better, because I'm playing better. But the thing is, the fans have been through thick and thin with me and they have stuck behind me and it is just nice to be playing good golf for them.

I feel like I owe that to them. At least, you know, now the way I play is I try not to throw shots away, I don't get mad. I keep trying real hard and, you know, if I play bad, I play bad but at least I know I've tried on every shot, and that's all I can do for them.

Q. Three of the last four Masters wins, they have had to birdie 18 to win, what are the odds for that now with the changes and pressures on that hole now?

JOHN DALY: It's a very difficult hole now. I'm hitting 3-wood, 6-iron instead of driver, L-wedge or sand wedge.

If the pin is on the front, in that middle left of the green, it's still going to be okay to hit a 6- or 7-iron to the hole. It will hold the green. It's just not going to be as easy as it used to be.

Q. Is there any truth that you are going to enter the World Longest Drive Championship this year?

JOHN DALY: I know the guys pretty well. I'm going to be there for the Nationals to hit some drives. I don't know if they want me to enter it or not. It don't really make a difference to me. I know I can't keep it up with those guys. But I do know one thing, I know it's a 40-yard grid, I know I can get one of those little pellets in there.

Q. How many holes do you think you'll hit driver on?

JOHN DALY: I think 3, I'll hit driver in the pin is back right. Of course, I'll hit driver on 1. I'll hit driver on 5. I'll hit it on 7, 8, 9, 11, 15, 17 -- yeah, that's it. I don't know how many that is, eight or nine times.

Q. How have you tried to play No. 8?

JOHN DALY: Same as usual. Just keep it a little left of that bunker and try and rope a 3-iron, 4-iron around the corner. Hit a low hook.

Q. Are you trying out a new motor home? Do you have a new one going home?

JOHN DALY: Fixing to. It's going to be a new slide-out, the new Featherlite Prevost slideout.

Q. Is there any truth to the rumor it's a million dollar motor home?

JOHN DALY: Yeah, they are pretty much up there. But this one is going to be given to me. I'm going to drive it for them. (Laughter.) I'm actually going to go over to Hooters today from about 5:30 to 6:30 and I sit in one of the coaches and sign some autographs. It's a brand new one with their double slideout. I was trying to get Jim Wooley (ph), the vice president of Featherlite, to swap with me this week but that one just sold. So they are going to sell mine and probably give me one after I get back home after Hilton Head.

Q. What gets the price up to high? What features do you have?

JOHN DALY: Everything. I mean, the chassis itself, which is the Prevost, is probably would run about $300,000 to 400,000, $500,000. That's the engine, generator, all that stuff.

When you get into decorations, interior part of it, it's very, very expensive stuff. It's like if you have ever flown in a nice private jet, the beautiful wood they have in there, that stuff, you feel it, it's real soft leather, it's just expensive. And all of the lighting, washer/drier, microwave, sub-zero fridge. It's going to have two plasma screen TVs and one in the bay outside. So I can see how it could get up to a million real quick.

It's nice not paying for the damn thing. (Laughter.)

Q. You say no more medicine; I know you don't drink anymore. What are your vices now? Diet Coke and M & M's? Marlboros?

JOHN DALY: Like I said, late maturer, I'm sort of into moderation of everything. Sometimes I still go on my chocolate splurges, but not near as bad as I used to. You know, play a little guitar. Still suck at it, but it's fun to play. (Laughter.)

And I did this album that's probably going to be ready in about three weeks. You know it's really neat to sit down with Johnny Lee and write songs and Darren and Hootie and them and write songs. It's kind of cool. I don't know, kind of just -- I don't know how you put it, just kind of really neat. It feels good to sit there, and especially listen to those guys singing stuff.

The music part I've really gotten more involved in that.

Q. Where did you park this week?


Q. Yeah.

JOHN DALY: Somewhere around here. (Laughter.)

Q. Talk a little bit about your chocolate splurges before and now.

JOHN DALY: Oh, it's not even --

Q. What were they? You ate 65 Hershey bars?

JOHN DALY: No, not that many. Maybe 60. (Laughter.)

No, I just had a craving for chocolate. I could sit and eat a half a gallon of chocolate ice cream in a sitting easily, and those big peanut M & M's I could eat them all day. You know, it's just weird. I feel like I've just kind of gotten over that.

Q. But you still do it at times?

JOHN DALY: Don't we all, though? (Laughter.)

It's hard to turn down a piece of a big ole chocolate cake or my mama leaves chocolate gravy in the morning, it's hard to turn that back down.

Q. Fuzzy said he preferred to have a copy of your album that Darren sang on rather than you. Are there two versions of this?

JOHN DALY: Yeah, it was -- Darren did the first part of it, and then the people that were sort of backing this whole album wanted me to sing more on it -- why, I don't know. But I went in and redid it. I could not have done it without Johnny Lee or Darren's help, but then we wrote another song, me and Johnny Lee and sat in his van and wrote, "Where I am now," Which is a pretty cool song.

I know I'm not a singer but everyone tells me, the songs that I wrote are definitely about my life, I have "Knocking on Heaven's Door" in the album, but they are all songs about what's happened in my life. Got a song on there, "I'm Drunk, Damn and Ain't Got a Penny to My Name", starting out in the early years of college and stuff, that's the way I was. I was always drunk. I was definitely broke. So songs like that.

And then there's songs like "My Life" and "Got to Find It" and "Mr. Fan" is on there, that me and Darren and Ronny McCann (ph), a fan that touched my heart at the PGA in 2000.

So they are all songs that pretty much I have written or Darren and Johnny Lee helped me write. And I sing it with my heart. I know I'm probably out of tune and everything, but, you know, it's what everyone wanted, so I did it.

Q. Will you sing a few bars?

JOHN DALY: (Laughter.) I wish Johnny Lee was here. He would sing, "All My Ex's Wear Rolexes." That's going to be a good one. He said he sang it and people called the station and people went crazy.

JIM BLANCHARD: Thanks for being with us. A lot of folks are pulling for you this week. Good luck.

JOHN DALY: Thanks for having me.

End of FastScripts....

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297