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May 27, 1997

John Daly


WES SEELEY: We are joined by John Daly. And we will go right to the questions.

Q. How much pressure, more or less pressure on yourself to perform well this week?

JOHN DALY: I don't have any, really a lot of expectations this week, just getting back into the rhythm, the basics of my game. More importantly, I didn't get to play a lot of golf while I was gone. I was working on more important things. But I'm excited. I have faith in the equipment I'm using and I'm really excited to get it going.

Q. Is golf less important to you now than it was?

JOHN DALY: At this time in my life it's still very, very important but the main thing is what I've been working on the last eight weeks right now at this short time. It's always going to be the most important thing, and then golf is probably going to be second, because I won't be able to play golf unless I take care of my problems day to day.

Q. The things that you've learned over the last two months will any of that help you on the golf course, are any of the skills or things that you've picked up, does that help you?

JOHN DALY: Definitely. This time I learned an awful lot. I actually read books. I surrounded myself with people that love me for the problem that I have, and not for the sport that I play. And it's just been amazing. It's just been a whole turn around in my life. It's a tough battle. People who go through what I've gone through, they're the only ones who know how tough it really is. And I'm in that boat, I have a great group in Palm Springs, and really all over the world. The fans that sent letters and stuff, I think there's about 1800 more I haven't opened. I just couldn't get all the way through them in the six weeks that I was there. It may take me forever to go through all that. But it made me realize that I'm not alone, that there's other people out there just like myself that have this same disease, and it's a tough battle.

Q. So you have a new family now?

JOHN DALY: Definitely.

Q. John, compare if you would, maybe the first time you were in treatment, maybe your expectations coming out of it, how you saw things, compare that to this most current time?

JOHN DALY: The first time I went through I was forced. I didn't want to be there. It was easy to admit the problem, but I never got to the second step. I've actually worked -- I'll work -- there's 12 steps in this thing. And I'll always work the 12 step, if anybody knows, that's a very important one, but getting to the second was very tough for me, in that first treatment. I've actually gone through the books and I've read an awful lot. I've learned an awful lot. And it's just amazing talking to others about this same disease, and getting through things day to day. It's just incredible.

Q. What is that second step?

JOHN DALY: In this recovery it's not really something you talk about, if you're in recovery you know what I'm talking about. And I look at it as a denial, the first one is admitting and to me is denial and then finally the so-called higher power to get you through it. And I feel like I found that.

Q. John, what kind of insights do you have in yourself now that you didn't have before?

JOHN DALY: I think just knowing that there's other people out there with the same problem, and knowing I can help them as much as they can help me.

Q. How about insights into yourself?

JOHN DALY: I feel a lot better. I've always had a very big heart, that's something that I will brag about. I've just never loved myself like people have loved me, and that's something that I'm working on.

Q. John, you mentioned a couple of times here you read some books, what kind of books, what did you get out of those books, are these books that you're learning about the problem of alcoholism or books about learning about yourself, could you elaborate?

JOHN DALY: The Big Book that I will have the rest of my life. Twenty-four hour meditation book, and a book called As Bill Sees It.

Q. What is that?

JOHN DALY: Like I said, it's just the way it is, if you're not in recovery. There will be people in here that understand what I'm saying, but there's 12 traditions in The Big Book, and the 11th one is basically not to talk to the media about my problem (laughter.) It's tough because when you guys write articles and I see people that are going to read it and here I am talking about it, there will be some people that are very, kind of angry about it. But it's something that I feel that I need to somewhat talk about it, but I can't get into it, it's a very personal thing, but like I said, if you're not in recovery you might not understand what I'm talking about.

Q. John, what happened this time that made you realize it was time to do it somebody else's way instead of your way?

JOHN DALY: I think just when I got there and I met the group and I started reading about it, acceptance was a very big thing. There's a very important saying in The Big Book about acceptance, and it brought tears to my eyes, really. And it made me realize you can't do this alone. There's people out there that you can go to to help you, there's meetings, there's tons of ways to get help, and I have to surround myself with those people.

Q. Since the incident in Ponte Vedra, have you had any kind of reconciliation with your wife?

JOHN DALY: No. I tried constantly the first two weeks I was out there to get a hold of her. I did get a chance to see my daughter. That was through my mother-in-law, who's been very cooperative through the whole thing. But Paulette is not ready to talk to me, and I don't know if she ever will. It's kind of sad.

Q. John, is there a way you will deal with the pressures of golf differently now?

JOHN DALY: I don't know, it's hard to predict the future. My game is very rusty right now, I don't have the feel I normally do, but I've got great equipment with Callaway, we worked very hard at the test center. I'm glad to be associated with a family that cares about John Daly as a person and then as a golf professional. I've never been around a company like Callaway. Everybody is a family, and it's funny, I go there to hit golf balls, I sit down and talk to Mr. C and Mike, and all the guys there. And how is everything at home? And I've never had that before, and it's a warm, warm feeling, and it's a warm company.

Q. John, you can't talk about the 12 steps, but is there a time table for completing them? Is there --

JOHN DALY: 12 steps is something I'll be working the rest of my life. It's not something you could skip. You can't go from 1 to 8, like I went from 1 to 12 when I went through treatment the first time. I believe The Big Book is a book that's not only about alcoholism, I think it's about life. It's a very, very important book in my life now. I wish I would have read it the first time I went through treatment. I just ignored the fact, I said I could quit, which is the stupidest thing I could have ever said. I can say again I will -- I can't say I will never have another drink, which would be a stupid thing to say, because it's day to day. It's tough. I will not be associated with -- like for example if I wanted to go out with the guys to eat, I would kindly ask if they please not drink in front of me, because it's very difficult. And certain functions that the TOUR or people may want me to attend, you know, it's going to be -- I just really don't have a way of going to cocktail parties much anymore. I don't feel I want to put myself in that position again.

Q. Do you have to change your friends out here?

JOHN DALY: No, no. The guys on TOUR, I've got numerous calls from guys on TOUR that have just been super. I don't mind people drinking, but hopefully they can respect my problem and my disease, they won't. Like if we go out to eat they just won't have a beer in front of me.

Q. John, how scared were you when you left THE PLAYERS Championship. Did you think it might be all gone at that point?

JOHN DALY: I was worried more about me. It was the first time in my life that I was worried about me. My best friend Donny and I went straight to Memphis and then we drove straight to Palm Springs. I knew it was time. I couldn't do this on my own.

Q. John, talk more about the equipment changing from -- to the Callaway clubs. Are you playing Callaway clubs all the way through the bag?

JOHN DALY: 14, yes.

Q. What kind of adjustments do you have to make now as far as ball flight or anything like that? Is it just different playing these clubs, what adjustments are you making?

JOHN DALY: I believe Callaway has got the best test facility in golf, which makes the best golf equipment in golf. I couldn't believe the difference. First time I went there to try the irons, I was hitting them a little right. So the boys went in and tweaked it a little bit and it was perfect. I've never had that with any company I've ever been with. It made it a lot easier. It's just a company that's got every aspect of the golf game -- I don't know much about technology, I let Mr. C and them take care of that, but they do a marvelous job. And it's easy going to a test facility that looks like one of the Augusta golf holes. It's got all the greens, all the bunkers, plenty of room to hit drivers, they've got everything you'd ever want. And this day and age that's what players need and that's what Callaway has provided and it's just phenomenal.

Q. Are you going to be any longer with that big driver?

JOHN DALY: I don't know, I'll let you see. (Laughter.)

Q. John, what kind of a boost was it for you that Callaway stepped up and showed some faith in you?

JOHN DALY: It was just wonderful. Mr. Callaway, the short time that I've known him, is like a father figure. I feel like I'm an adopted son already. And I feel like I have brothers and sisters in the family of Callaway in just a short time. I never got that close to any of the big CEO's or vice-presidents or whatever with Wilson. They changed so many, so I never really could. But Callaway is just a company that's family first, then the profession. And that's what I love about them.

Q. John, you mentioned that you drove straight to Palm Springs, does that mean no staying in a hotel overnight, just drove straight through?

JOHN DALY: Straight through from Memphis.

Q. How long did it take?

JOHN DALY: I don't know, I don't think I sobered up until three days after I got there, anyway. Donny did most of the driving.

Q. Are you going to move again out of Arkansas and relocate somewhere else?

JOHN DALY: I'm still in Memphis right now.

Q. Does that mean, John, that you might change your headquarters in the future?

JOHN DALY: I don't know yet. I've only been to Memphis once or twice in the last 10 or 11 weeks. I'm not too concerned about it right now. I think as all the players know, we kind of live on the road anyway. Right now my home is at Callaway.

Q. What would be a successful week for you this week?

JOHN DALY: Just playing, just getting back into it, not expecting much. I feel I'm hitting the ball very solid, the short times I have played, the short game is not where I want it, but everything is solid. There's going to be a few pulls and a few pushes out there, but this is one of the greatest courses to come and play, because the golf course is so good. We did an outing in Pittsburgh yesterday, 30,000 people in one day at Nemacolin, a guy by the name of Joe Hardy, a phenomenal man. It was a warm, warm feeling, they're dying for a golf tournament. We need to get the TOUR involved and get a tournament up there.

Q. What would make it a good year?

JOHN DALY: I don't know. I want to get through today.

Q. Have you thought at all -- you said right now your home is at Callaway. Have you thought, are you better off playing every week out here on TOUR or do you have some place you can go that you have friends --

JOHN DALY: Everywhere. My agents have done a wonderful job working with the center in Palm Springs, out-care program, alumni, hookup with one of them each week, and they're everywhere, they're in every city, and it's a nice family.

Q. It's not a situation where you might be out here the next eight weeks playing tournament after tournament?

JOHN DALY: No, I think three -- I'm going to hopefully play at least three, but I don't know coming up. But that would be the most I think I could play right now.

Q. What will be your daily routine, come out, practice, play, whatever your tee time is, and then do you have to do anything with your program?

JOHN DALY: I'll do something with my program every day, as much as I can, anyway.

Q. John, you mentioned that you have a support group of friends that you met. Do you feel more pressure, obviously, and maybe almost alone in the fact that you're going through your fight while the whole world is watching, while many of your friends can live their day-to-day lives and maybe their loved ones watch, but in your case the whole world is watching?

JOHN DALY: The most important thing is that I stay sober day to day. And I've always got somebody to call, millions and millions of people to call. And it's everywhere. There's people out there that have the same problem that I have in every city or town. I could pick up the phone or I could go to a meeting or if there's any problems or if I get jittery or feel like I want to have a drink or something, I know I can go somewhere. And I just ignored the fact the first time I went through this.

Q. John, one of your best friends, if not your best friend out here is Fuzzy, and he hasn't had an easy month, either. Have you talked a lot during this past month --

JOHN DALY: I've talked to Fuzzy about three or four times.

Q. What do you talk about -- I can imagine what you talk about, but what did you say to each other?

JOHN DALY: I missed playing with him this morning, I overslept, but Fuzzy is my big brother out here. He always will be. And I think once I approach Fuzzy and talk to him, you know, that's the thing about this sport, we all are kind of a family in some way. Fuzzy's been there for me, and I would be there for him if he needed me. And that's what it's all about.

Q. How long have you been sober right now?

JOHN DALY: Just over two months. It's funny, the only past -- they say not to remember too much of your past, just forgive yourself for it. I want to remember that night the rest of my life, how bad it really was. And if I could do that, it's going to get me through a tough day, that if I want to have one or something, because when I woke up, I mean my agents were there, my caddy was there and Donny was there, and I saw the sadness in their eyes. I could just picture how bad I looked, and that's what's going to keep me, as long as I can remember that night, knowing how bad I really was, that can get me through a day, and it can get me through an awful lot, because I don't want to go back there.

Q. Can you talk about forgiving yourself right now, is that difficult?

JOHN DALY: I have forgiven myself for it, because I know it's not my fault. I know it's my responsibility, but a disease like this is not somebody's fault. You don't point the finger, this is a disease. It's something that -- I didn't have a book when I was brought up. I was around alcohol all my life when I grew up, like most kids are today. And it's -- it's not the easiest thing in the world to do. I started drinking four years after I started playing golf. And I started playing golf when I was four. So that's kind of tough.

Q. Do you still smoke?

JOHN DALY: Too much, yeah.

Q. Is that next?

JOHN DALY: I don't know. I've lost 32 pounds, and I'm afraid if I quit smoking I'd gain it right back. But you can't really quit everything right now. I've thought about it, but I'm scared to quit smoking, afraid I'll eat everything in site.

Q. How much do you smoke a day?

JOHN DALY: Just over two and a half packs, probably a day.

Q. Do you have a regimented diet and exercise program that goes with this?

JOHN DALY: I swim an awful lot. I haven't been eating anything after 5 o'clock and I haven't been eating chocolate. And I haven't been eating the burgers or anything, either. I've eaten steaks and a lot of fruit.

Q. John, you mentioned when you woke up, is that at the hotel, at the hospital --

JOHN DALY: The hospital.

Q. John, I don't know if you can answer this question or not, because it might be psychological, it might be something you can't talk about, why would you not like yourself, given the things you've accomplished?

JOHN DALY: I don't know. I've always been a guy who would rather give than receive. I think if you talk to the people closest to me they would tell you the same thing. I love doing things for people. I've just never been one to do things for John Daly. I always seemed to have a reason, like if I win a tournament or something, I never say it's for me, I always say it's for something else, which I think is still okay. I think the problem that I've had in my life is to forgive myself for the things that I've done. And it's been very tough. I feel like I've forgiven myself a lot. There's a fourth step in there, searching and moral inventory of myself that I did and I cried the six hours to do it because I was down on myself and then after it was all over I said, hey, you can forgive yourself for those things.

Q. Is this press conference part of the purging of the past, of sorts?

JOHN DALY: Yeah, in a way. I have a new family now, through my sobriety, and have a new family through my career with Callaway. And it's a new start, and it's a day-to-day thing, and it's not predicting the future, it's not -- I won't be committing to tournaments until that Friday before the tournament. I wish it could be that Monday, but I know that's not possible. It's a new beginning, and it is the biggest second chance I've ever had in my life.

Q. John, how do you fill up your evenings now, what do you do at night?

JOHN DALY: I read, play a little guitar. There will always be somebody at each tournament with me, Donny will always be there, one of my agents will always be at the tournaments and I will also have a lot of people in recovery that I would fly out to watch me play, if I need them, so-called sponsors, just be around people that basically don't drink and have the same problem that I have. That's where I have to be.

Q. John, are you happy or is life still a little too hard?

JOHN DALY: I'm very happy right now. Very sad to go through what I'm going through with Paulette, that hurt an awful lot. But I can't do anything about the way she feels. As long as I know my daughter is okay, that's right now the most important thing. And a new relationship with Callaway, I think the commercials you're going to love. It was really fun doing them. And like I said it's a new beginning. I'm excited to be a part of a family that cares about John Daly.

Q. I wondered if there was a time when you realized the state you were in after the incident down in Florida where you might have said, is there any help for me out there in terms of what Mr. Callaway has done for you? You appeared to be on the verge of losing a lot of things, financially and otherwise. Did you feel there would not be a help for you, would you discuss that?

JOHN DALY: The most important thing I thought would help me would be to get to Palm Springs and to get in that program. That was the only thing I was worried about at that time and the most important thing for me was to get help with my disease. I didn't really think of anything else, I didn't want to think of anything else, I just couldn't do anything but get to Palm Springs as fast as I could. We didn't get any tickets, that was nice.

Q. There was some question when you entered you were doing it as an outpatient instead of an inpatient. What was involved in that decision doing it the way you did it?

JOHN DALY: That's, again, kind of personal. I stayed out eight weeks. I was there for eight weeks. I stayed a couple of weeks longer than I was intended to, but I had such a close group that I didn't want to leave them. The program I went through was very, very -- it was very good.

Q. Do you think you could catch a miracle this week and win the golf tournament or maybe next week or maybe even the second week? Are there miracles out there for you?

JOHN DALY: I've had a few, and one was with Callaway, and meeting Mr. Callaway, that was a miracle.

Q. Can you tell us how that meeting took place and who initiated it?

JOHN DALY: You know, I really don't know. It just happened so fast. I basically wanted to test some new clubs, and I went over to the test center of Callaway's and basically fell in love with everything they had. It wasn't -- I didn't go over there thinking about a deal or anything, I just wanted to find the best equipment that I could possibly find for my game. And I found it the first day I got there. It was amazing.

Q. Do you remember what day that was?

JOHN DALY: I think it was about my third or fourth week that I was there.

End of FastScripts....

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