SINGAPORE - Years of addiction, blow-ups and wrecked marriages earned John Daly the moniker 'Wild Thing' but at 46 the American says he has finally found the maturity to match his unquestionable talent.
With his crowd-pulling '‘grip it and rip it' style and unconventional swing that resulted in huge driving distances, Daly shot to fame with his 1991 PGA Championship win, followed by his success at the 1995 British Open.
Despite his potential, Daly’s game then fell apart in the midst of four divorces and an alcohol addiction all documented on his first music album in 2010.
Tournament invite exemptions ended as the American toured around with limited success relying on sponsors invites as his world ranking fell to 827 last year.
An ugly row with organizers at an event in Australia which grabbed unwanted headlines added insult to injury.
While Daly acknowledged he remains as capable of shooting an 83 as a 63 he said he was a much calmer figure now.
"The intriguing thing about me is I don’t know which John Daly will show up on the golf course," he told reporters on Tuesday before this week’s Singapore Open.
"But I know it’s a more trying, more dedicated John Daly every day.
"This year particularly I’ve had some horrific rounds and horrific ball-striking rounds, and I’ve hung in there and that’s the thing I wish I had learnt at a young age.
"But I didn’t, I had no one to teach me that. My course management I didn’t learn until I got on tour, a little in college.
"I’m 46 now and I think I’ve learned an awful lot on managing golf courses a little better and picking my poison, whether to go for it or not.
"Early 90s I had no clue, I just went for everything."
A more considered approach has left the American optimistic about retaining his PGA and European Tour cards this year - an unusual situation for the flamboyantly dressed Daly.
Currently he is 143rd on the PGA Tour money list needing to stay in the top 150 for more tournament invites next year, while he sits 81st in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.
"I have some decisions to make," the world number 191 said when asked if he would play both tours next year.
"But it’s the first year going into the next year that I’ve actually got positive decisions to make instead of sitting at home wondering where am I going to play."
While retaining his cards remains the key goal, a return to the winner’s circle is also an ambition.
Daly’s last title came at the 2004 PGA Tour’s Buick Open where he defeated Luke Donald and Chris Riley in a playoff but the American was upbeat.
"The way I’m hitting the ball I feel like I can,” Daly said. “I wouldn’t be playing the game if I didn’t feel I could compete and win.
"I’m more competitive that I’ve ever been now and I think it’s a wide awakening for me, I got complacent in the 90s, I was exempt for so long, thinking, well there’s always next week."
THIS WEEK IN GOLF
PGA TOUR - CHILDREN'S MIRACLE NETWORK HOSPITALS CLASSIC
COURSES: Walt Disney World Resort, Magnolia Course (7,516 yards, par 72) and Palm Course (7,010 yards, par 72).
PURSE: $4.7 million. Winner's share: $846,000.
TELEVISION: Golf Channel (Thursday-Sunday, 1-4 p.m., 6:30-9:30 p.m.).
OH CANADA: Mike Weir
NOTES: After a two week break, the PGA Tour's Fall Series comes to a conclusion with this event. ...The top 125 on the money list after the event will earn full 2013 exemptions, and the next 25 will receive conditional status. Jeff Maggert is 122nd with $671,494, followed by Kevin Chappell ($623,775), Rod Pampling ($620,893), No. 125 Billy Mayfair ($619,961), Trevor Immelman ($617,296), Gary Christian ($616,457), Alexandre Rocha ($605,117), Bill Lunde ($593,598) and D.J. Trahan ($587,407). ...Canadians Graham DeLaet (No. 94) and David Hearn (No. 95) are safely inside the top 125 and will retain their status for next season. ... Mike Weir is making his 14th Tour start of the year - he has yet to make a cut in 13 starts this year. ...Last year, Luke Donald won the season-ending event to win the PGA Tour money title, and went on to become the first player to also top the European Tour money list in the same season. Rory McIlroy, playing this week in Singapore, has already wrapped up the top spot on the money list
EUROPEAN TOUR/ASIAN TOUR - SINGAPORE OPEN
COURSE: Sentosa Golf Club, Serapong Course (7,372 yards, par 71).
PURSE: $6 million. Winner's share: $1 million.
TELEVISION: Golf Channel (Thursday, midnight-5 a.m., 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 4-6 p.m.; Friday, midnight-5 a.m., 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 4-6 p.m., 10 p.m.-3 a.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 4-6 p.m., 10 p.m.-3 a.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 4-6 p.m.).
OH CANADA: None entered
NOTES: Top-ranked Rory McIlroy is in the field along with three-time champion Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson, Louis Oosthuizen, Paul Casey, Padraig Harrington and John Daly. McIlroy is trying to became the second player to win the European and PGA Tour money titles in the same season. McIlroy has already wrapped up the PGA Tour money title, and leads second-place Peter Hanson by $978,684 in the European standings.
LPGA TOUR - LORENA OCHOA INVITATIONAL
COURSE: Guadalajara Country Club (6,644 yards, par 72).
PURSE: $1 million. Winner's share: $200,000.
OH CANADA: None entered
NOTES: Tournament host Lorena Ochoa is in the 36-player field after sitting out last year before the birth of her first child. She won 27 LPGA Tour titles before retiring in 2010. ...Stacy Lewis, who rallied to win the Mizuno Classic in Japan last week for her tour-leading fourth title of the year, is in position to become the first American to win player of the year since Beth Daniel in 1994. Lewis has a nearly insurmountable 58-point lead over South Korea's Inbee Park with two events left. ... Norway's Suzann Pettersen is coming off consecutive victories in South Korea and Taiwan.
EUROPEAN TOUR - SECOND STAGE, Q-SCHOOL
OH CANADA: Derek Gillespie (Campo de Golf El Saler, Valencia, Spain), Andrew Parr (Las Colinas G&CC, Alicante, Spain)
eGOLF PROFESSIONAL TOUR - CHAMPIONSHIP AT RIVER RUN
COURSE: River Run Country Club, Davidson, N.C.
OH CANADA: Zach Schnurr, Richard Boychuk,
THE LEGENDS TOUR - LEGENDS TOUR OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
COURSE: Innisbrook A Salamander Golf and Spa Resort, Palm Harbor, Fla.
OH CANADA: Lorie Kane, Dawn Coe-Jones, Gail Graham,
CACTUS TOUR - ARIZONA WOMEN'S OPEN
COURSE: Foothills Golf Club, Phoenix, AZ.
OH CANADA: Alena Sharp
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