Fans love Daly for his heart, despite his flaws
Big flaws, bigger heart.
As the Judge Smails types in the game scratch their heads and hold their noses at John Daly’s enduring popularity, most guys at a golf tournament would rather watch John Daly struggle his way to 75 than follow some rail-thin Tour Pro-Bot go 2-under with the passion of an actuary.
Still, even Daly’s biggest fans have to be concerned after his troubling year, which included a feud with Butch Harmon over Daly’s drinking, barely breaking 90 on Friday at the British Open, and a bizarre incident in which Daly passed out near a Hooters restaurant in North Carolina and spent the night in jail. That’s why it’s nice to read Peter Stone’s story in The Sydney Morning Herald about Daly’s generosity and how he helped inspire a 12-year-old boy to become a pro golfer. Damon Welsford (right, with Daly) was 12 when his father Paul took him and brother Justin to the Australian Masters at Huntingdale in 1995. They followed Daly in the pro-am and, early on, he took a shine to Damon.On practically every hole, Daly signed a golf ball and handed it to the kid. Then, at the par-five 14th with a water carry off the tee of around 150 meters, Daly handed Damon his driver and said: "Hit it over and I'll give you 50 bucks."The little fellow did, and Daly signed a $50 note and handed it over. The kid then tagged along behind his new hero for all 72 holes of the tournament. Welsford is now a 25-year-old pro golfer and will be playing against Daly in this week’s Australian PGA. The two men spoke on the practice green Tuesday; Daly didn’t remember Welsford but jokingly offered to caddy for him when he heard how they met in 1995. Welsford asked Daly how he was doing. The big man’s response: “Well, you know…”
Yup, Daly's always been funny, and he's touched a lot of people. That doesn't excuse all his actions, but make sure you give him some credit and appreciation for his good qualities too. That kid who Daly signed golf balls for in 1995 sure does. "Yes, John did inspire me. I was an 18 to 20 marker at the time. It was pretty cool what happened that day," Welsford said."He must have done a lot of things like that around the world. I'll always remember it." (Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)