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March 5, 2002

John Daly


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: We'd like to welcome John Daly to the media center.

John, welcome back. You're playing some good golf this year, and, obviously, coming back to Heron Bay, you have some good memories of this tournament.

JOHN DALY: Yeah, this has been a -- it's been a tournament that I've always seemed to do pretty good at, whether we played at Eagle Trace, Weston Hills; or here, it's always been one of those tournaments that -- this golf course especially. Probably not another golf course on the Tour that fits my game as good as this one. Although, they moved the fairways in a little bit and the rough is up, but this has always been a golf course you can just beat-drive it all day and you can attack it a little bit.


Q. Do you realize how much the fans appreciate having you in the tournament?

JOHN DALY: It's been great everywhere I've been, and it's just wonderful that I'm playing better for them. It would be great to win again here, especially, for them, the ones that haven't given up on me.

Sort of what I did last week, I went to the studio and recorded an album, me and Darren Norwood and Johnny Lee and Hootie and the Blowfish did a song with me on it; it's sort of a way of saying thanks to all of them. The whole album is about my life. I sing about probably three songs that me -- I wrote two of them and Darren wrote one of them. Darren Norwood was a country singer that was sort of big in Country in '94, "Bad Dogs Don't Cry", "Bad Dog No Biscuit."

And, of course, Johnny Lee is a legend in country music. We cut a song, "Exes Wearing Rolexes." My ex-wives probably won't like it much, but it doesn't mention their names, anyway.

There's a lot of fun, there's a lot of humor and a lot of sadness and sort of about how my life is up and down and up and down. And the fans have stuck with me. It's probably going to be out around April 1, and it's going to be called "This Is My Life". Had a lot of fun doing it.

Q. Do you see your life and your game, you said up and down, do you see your life and your game as "up" right now?

JOHN DALY: Yeah, I see, I do. Everything is pretty calm. You know, working hard at it. Although, I did not touch a club last week. It was so cold in Memphis, couldn't do much. I was in the studio all week, but I needed a week off. I went pretty strong on the West Coast. I think mentally it's the strongest, toughest I have ever been in all aspects of my life and that helps a lot. That can overcome bad shots. That can overcome bad days.

And so that's what's really helping me right now is I know I'm going to miss some golf shots out there, but it's not that big a deal because I feel like now if I stay patient, I can recover from it. I think that's been a big -- a big thing in my life for the last two years.

Q. Do you have a passion for music and recording now?

JOHN DALY: I have a passion to listen to music. I'm not much of one that -- never would have dreamed I would have done an album, but a lot of people talked me into doing it. Like Mark Brian from Hootie said, "Songs that are sung with heart are more important than somebody singing somebody else's song and it sounds really good." They say I sound a lot like Bob Dylan -- I'd like to have his money, but, I mean, Bob Dylan has been one of the greatest song writers that have lived, but everybody has made his songs really big.

It was something that was different in my life. It was something that was fun. Like I said, it's a way that I can tell the fans how much I really love them. They can understand my life through these songs and it's really cool. Me and Darren wrote most of them and Johnny Lee wrote that one. And Darren just kind of -- we are going to release his album right after this one. He's got a new song called "Country to the Bone"; he wrote it two weeks before Waylon died, tribute to Waylon Jennings, and it's really incredible.

But it's a different thing in my life that I never thought I'd ever do. I've collected almost 47 guitars from all of these great musicians and stuff. I've always loved music, but I never dreamed I'd be recording an album. So, it's fun.

Q. Is this news? Is this news today that you recorded this? Do people know about this?

JOHN DALY: A lot of people do. The media really doesn't know a lot about it. But after CBS was putting that song, "My Life Off the Air," I got talked into doing this album. It's really been cool. I mean, gave me something to do last week, anyway. (Laughter.)

Q. Before the project, had you envisioned your life as a country singer or a country album before?

JOHN DALY: No. This is more of an album, it has rock, blues, country, it's got just about every song, every type of music in it. I don't know if that's been done too many times.

Q. Outside of feeling mentally more comfortable, what's going on, on the golf course, with the shots that has improved over other periods of time? What are you doing better out here? How are you getting it to the hole quicker?

JOHN DALY: I think I'm not missing as many shots. I don't miss a lot of shots way right or way left.

And hitting the cut has helped an awful lot. Hitting this cut shot for the last couple of year, I've pretty much avoided the left side of the golf course, 90 percent of the time, and that's helped an awful lot.

And then controlling my irons, I don't -- one of the biggest changes, if it's a hard 9(-iron) where I used to go hit a hard 9(-iron), now I just had he hit a little 8(-iron).

And I think that Pro V1 ball has really helped. It's the only golf ball I've ever hit that I can hit a three-quarter shot and trust my distances with.

Q. What are you driving with, TaylorMades?

JOHN DALY: Titleist driver.

Q. You went back to that?

JOHN DALY: No, I've been hitting that for quite a while.

Q. You had your best year in a while last year and good West Coast a couple of Top 5s. Do you feel you are closer or more capable of winning than you have been in quite a while?

JOHN DALY: I think so. I mean, it's just nice to be there. The only way you are going to win is being there. The last couple years, I've had some great opportunities, and it felt good to be back in that -- back in that spot to have a chance to win again. And that's the thing, we thrive to get in there on Sunday and be in the last two or three groups, and if you go out and shoot a really good number, you always have that chance to win.

Now that that's what's been really cool about the last two years is that I've had those opportunities, probably nine or ten of them, something that's not been -- never happened in my career. It's always been sort of a win, you know, six missed cuts, a win, or something like that. It's been very non-consistent. At least I'm very consistent now.

Q. How long have you been married now?

JOHN DALY: About seven months.

Q. Pardon me, but what was her name?

JOHN DALY: Sherrie.

Q. Anything that she's brought to this recent streak of good play? What is she providing for you in the way of comfort, companionship, anything?

JOHN DALY: Very positive on life. She's very -- what do you call it, nothing really phases her that much. She's not into material things at all. She's just sort of a good -- sort of a good country girl that appreciates somebody looking after her and taking care of her, and she does the same for me.

So it's a very simple type thing. And she loves to travel. Sherrie just loves to travel. She makes the road a lot easier than the ones in my past.

Q. And where did you meet her again?

JOHN DALY: In Memphis. FedEx on Thursday last year.

Q. Was she working with the tournament?

JOHN DALY: No. She was actually with a good buddy of mine that I get a lot of my cars from. She came out there -- he had been trying to get me to meet her for like three years; she said, "I don't like blonds and I hate golf."

Q. Did he think there was something that would click between the two of you?

JOHN DALY: He always told me, "There's a girl here that I think you two would be perfect for each other." And I haven't been single a lot in my life; so I really didn't give that an opportunity, and as soon as I was, it was really cool how we met. Within five minutes after I had met her, I said, "Hi, how ya doing," and Kim was on the 12th tee box and I said, "You know what, I'm going to marry that girl."

Q. Getting back to your music, for the fans who want to get a copy, when is your release date; do you know?

JOHN DALY: It's coming. It should be mass-produced in, whatever, in about two weeks, and we're just looking at various distributors for it. I've got to meet with BMI and NasCap (ph) and to protect the songs. I don't know much about it, but hopefully around April, right around the 1st of April, we're hoping.

Q. Two years ago in this tournament. You were not even ranked in the World Rankings and now you are 43rd, should be in the Top 50 by the end of Sunday to get into the Masters. How much have you thought about this first part of the season, making the Top-50 to get in the Masters?

JOHN DALY: It was pretty much the only goal. And hopefully, you know, everyone is telling me there's no way, there's no way, but look what happened last year in Hong Kong and I didn't go.

It's a goal that I feel good about that, you know, hey, so far I've accomplished it. When you set goals and you accomplish them, it makes you feel better.

Now, I've just got to hopefully get in and go there because I heard the golf course is even more perfect for me now, and it will be interesting to play Augusta with a cut. If Nicklaus has won six green jackets with a cut, I don't see why people say it's a hooker or drawer's golf course. But, who knows. It's going to be really interesting.

Q. Was it tough sitting out last year?

JOHN DALY: Yeah, it's been tough. I look back when I went into rehab in '97 if I should have played there, but, you know, I thought my life was a little more important at that time. It's amazing, you get into those tournaments and you think you're going to be in them for the rest of your life. I never looked at it this way, but I always said, "Well, I've got next year, I've got next year." That year runs out. And it was pretty tough.

Q. Now that you are closer to winning, getting your game where you want it to be, do you miss winning, or do you not stress very much over something like that?

JOHN DALY: Winning the BMW last year in Germany, it was great to come out on top because that turned into sort of a match-play event with me and Padraig. And to go down 72 holes, as good as both of us played and to tie a European tournament record and only win by one, that's cool. I mean, that's something -- you know, the butterflies are there the whole day because nobody is letting up. And to win like that -- so I know the feel how it is to win again. It's been a long time since it's happened here.

Q. Is that important to you to win back in the States on the PGA TOUR?

JOHN DALY: Oh, yeah, definitely.

Q. Why do you think people like you so much?

JOHN DALY: They relate. (Smiles).

I think fans relate to all of the ups-and-downs I've done through. I've never sort of hidden my emotions. I've always told pretty much the truth about everything that's happened in my life. Some's good and some's bad. Some people might not like to read about it, but I always thought honesty is the best policy when it comes to talking about something.

Like a cute lady there said, I've been her inspiration for seven years and she's been clean and sober. That makes you feel good.

Q. When somebody wrote once that everybody has got a brother and an uncle like you in their family somewhere, do you take that as a compliment? Is that what you mean by people relating to you?

JOHN DALY: Not just that, but I think just -- yeah, sort of that way, yeah. About everything that I've gone through. Everybody goes through divorces. There's millions of people that have drinking problems. There's people that their weight goes up and down, just like mine does. It's just life. And I think people relate to that, I really do.

Q. You talk about your wife a little bit. What do your daughters do for you?

JOHN DALY: Shynah and Sierra? I wish I could see them more. I get them at Bay Hill next we're week. We're going to go to Disney World. But the greatest two little girls in the world.

Q. When you're with them, you sound like you're at your happiest when you're with them?

JOHN DALY: Yeah, and my two-year-old son now, Austin, my stepson, he calls me John Daddy. When we're all together, it's just crazy. It's great. Just let them do whatever they want to do.

Q. Could you sing one chorus now?

JOHN DALY: Are you kidding me? A studio can make anybody sound good. (Laughter.)

Q. You have been so revealing. Do you allow yourself to drink at all anymore?

JOHN DALY: It's been a long time since I've had one. I just don't -- it's not something I really think about. Just haven't had a desire to even have one. So that option is always open, but it's not something that I've even thought about lately, in a while.

Q. When somebody tells you that you can't, is that the time that you did think about it?

JOHN DALY: I think so. It's like you talk to a little kid, "You can't do that." Of course they are going to do it. Say, "Go ahead and do it," and they don't do it. It's just weird.

Q. Are you traveling in the motorhome?


Q. What was the one thing -- if you were going to do that, what's the one creature comfort you had to have if you were going to do it?

JOHN DALY: Big screen TV. Had to have had. It has one of those plasma 42-inch screen TVs. It was made into the bus. We go down the highway and watch TV, too.

Q. How long have you been doing that?

JOHN DALY: I got it in November, but also, I had an American Eagle in the early 90s. Got rid of that and then I had another that I drove around for a little bit. I just missed it.

Q. Who does the driving?

JOHN DALY: Me and Donny.

Q. Are there times when you really want to drive?

JOHN DALY: Oh, yeah. I drove it back from the West Coast. I love driving. People get out of your way in that thing. Especially the way I drive. They need to. (Laughter.)

Q. What kind of bus is it?

JOHN DALY: It's a Prevost, Featherlight -- Prevost, but Featherlight interior and all that. And Featherlight is just north of Orlando in Sanford. Beautiful coaches.

Q. You said you collect guitars, 47, you said. Whose guitars do you have?

JOHN DALY: My where from Stevie Ray Vaughn to -- just got BB King, Lucille, Tracy Bird, Mark Wills, Vince Gil, Eddie Van Halen, Alice Cooper, Hootie and the Blowfish, Glenn Fry, Joe Walsh, Graham Nash. Can't think of all of them -- Richie Sambora.

Q. Your music, was it therapeutic in your life, too?

JOHN DALY: Yeah, when you get the chords right, it is. But the guitar is a very frustrating thing to learn how to play at an older age. Your fingers are not ready for it. When you start at a young age, your fingers get used to it. I can stretch my fingers out to hit a bar chord, but I can't stretch my finger to hit one of these funky chords that a lot of guys can do. Something that takes a lot of time and I don't have a lot of time to practice as much as I'd like to.

Q. Tougher than golf?

JOHN DALY: Oh, yeah. It's no fun playing the same chords over and over again, when you're by yourself, too. And I'm a G, D, C guy. That's it. Every now and then I throw in an A.

Q. Long off the tee, but short on the guitar.

JOHN DALY: Short on the guitar. (Laughter.)

Q. You should qualify for the Masters; do you see a week coming up where you could go to the course?

JOHN DALY: No, I'll just go. I'll play it when I get there. Thing is, three practice rounds should be enough.

Q. The ten Long Distance Titles in a row, how much does that mean to you, being the longest guy every year?

JOHN DALY: It's nice, but it's not the most important thing. I know I'm getting a little older. There's some young guys coming up that are hitting it a long ways. But it's good -- I guess good for the sponsors. But it's not -- I'd rather play really good golf than worry about that.

Q. You might have mentioned your patience is so much better. Can you trace that to anything that made the switch go on or anything like that?

JOHN DALY: I think maturity, basically. I'm a late maturer.

And I think when I got off all of the medication these doctors had me on, gave me the energy to not only work hard on my game, but to focus better. These anti-depressant pills, it goes back to, people tell you what you are, you start believing it.

So I decided to take myself off of it, and right around Vancouver, I couldn't take that -- three years ago when I had the shakes. I just couldn't take it anymore. I held on to taking them and finally November of '99 or October of '99, I said, "This is it. This is crazy. I can't do it anymore." And January 2000, lost like 35 pounds in the first two months.

So, that was a big decision on my part, to get off that. I had more energy with my kids and wanted to play golf. There's a lot of things I wanted to do instead of just lay around, because I had no emotions; they were not high; they were not low. It was like I was just a blur. It feels good to have energy.

Q. When did you go to the cut shot?

JOHN DALY: Started right around -- right when I got my green in 2000 -- I'm sorry 2001 last year. Got my green in 2000. I started like in the West Coast of 2000.

Q. When did you find out that you were 507th on the rankings?

JOHN DALY: I think when it was reported in one of the articles or something.

Q. You read it or somebody called you?

JOHN DALY: I never even thought about the World Rankings until -- that seems to be the most important thing now, because it's what gets you in all the big tournaments. I want to say, something like Loch Lomond last year. Might even have been earlier than that. Might have been Phoenix last year, we were like 506th going into there and I finished ninth, I think, there.

A few Top-10s moved me up real fast, because I had not acquired any points for two or three years and basically was a rookie coming on TOUR or something. And then I started playing really good, had a lot of Top-10s last year that moved me up real quick. Pretty neat.

Q. Do you follow that a lot more now?

JOHN DALY: Oh, yes. There was a thing -- there was a player I played with in Australia at the Heineken tournament that IMG would call their players to tell them what tournaments to play in, what tournaments not to play in. Like if they play in this tournament, you're going to lose points no matter how good you play. I mean, it's kind of -- that would be some nice advice to have.

The world rankings, the system is so confusing, it's a joke. You have so many tours playing now that it's very difficult to keep up with.

But, like I say, you play good, you should be okay.

End of FastScripts....

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