Your new Golf Channel series is entitled 'Being John Daly.' Do you actually like being John Daly?
I don’t like the way I’m scoring on the golf course, but I like what I’m doing off the course. I’m managing my time better. My girlfriend, she’s got my company back to where I want it. Losing the weight, doing things right, being focused to be able to play better golf instead of going with the flow.
Do you understand the sentiment from people who think they’ve seen this movie before?
I think the true fan wants to see me succeed, the true fans of John Daly. I have over [44,000] Twitter followers. Maybe for the [fans] that don’t have an opinion, they can see what’s good happening off the golf course instead of always the bad and the negative. I’ve committed to change my life, the weight, going to the practice tee before a round now, to give me a chance to play better golf. When I saw Vijay [Singh] at Pebble, he said, “Just keep working on it, it will come. The more you practice, the more good breaks you get.” I think it’s just an outlook on life that is totally different that gives me the best chance to play well and do things right.
But can you really say you won’t go off the deep end again?
I don’t think you can ever say somebody’s not going to go on the deep end. I’m just setting myself up to do things right. Right now I’m not drinking. [On his reality show, Daly says he’s given up drinking and gambling for smoking and sex.] If I feel like doing something [wrong], I’ll just write songs. I have an album coming out in March. If I’m at a hotel I just go back to the room and watch TV. I’m not setting myself up to be in a situation where if something goes wrong, then it’s “Well, Daly was there he must have been drinking.” I don’t need that anymore where I’m guilty by association. Drinking has never been that big a problem.
So you don’t drink anymore?
The lap band [surgery] won’t let the beer go down because of the carbonation. People always suspect when things go wrong that I’ve been drinking. To me, things that go wrong are people not supporting me or bad golf. I’m not the most religious guy in the world, but I feel like I’m being tested.
In October 2005, you nearly took down Tiger Woods at Harding Park. Can you win again?
The thing about that week was I putted so bad, but I hit a lot of greens. The last time I remember putting well was when I beat Phil [Mickelson] at the B.C. Open in 1992. That’s the last time I won a golf tournament when I made some putts. I’m a guy that has to hit a lot of greens. Right now I’m three-putting them. I’m so close to scoring well. I think Sunday of [Mayakoba] I was trying to get some extra yards off the tee. It just got ugly fast. The ballstriking is there. I’ve played three or four tournaments and I hit it as well or better than most guys on tour, but it’s the putting.
Speaking of Tiger, what’s your opinion of how he’s handled the last three months?
I thought his agent should have got him a press release a day or two after it happened and come out clean, but he finally did it. He looked pretty sincere. I know he was nervous, that’s probably why he had to read it. Hopefully, he and Elin will work it out. The toughest major he has is keeping his family together. If he and Elin are together, bring your wife and kids out and show the world you’re still together. And then just go out play.
Have you spoken to him?
No, I haven’t.
Last year I talked to Jeff Maggert and he said he didn’t want to read about something bad happening to you in the paper. Do you realize a lot of your peers have worried about you having a bad end?
I think now the people around me are the people who are worried about my well being. Before, people wanted me to be OK so they could just keep getting things from me. It’s been a total turnaround. It’s a small but powerful circle. It used to be a very big circle, but not powerful.
You said you were done with the game earlier this year, but that was obviously frustration. Will you be at the Open Championship in St. Andrews in July?
Oh yeah, I won’t miss St. Andrews. That’s my favorite place on this planet to play. I wish we played it 40 times a year. The thing about St. Andrews is, whether you’re chipping with a sand wedge, an L wedge or a 7-iron, you have to have some imagination and confidence. I feel like I still have that.