In Turkey of all places. In a 54-hole ordeal called the Beko Classic. It’s a real tournament, with real professional players, approved by Europe’s real PGA, even if Daly’s purse was an unreal $8,000. Daly said “a win’s a win...” and he’s bang on there.
And for him, this Turkish tournament was bang on too. He lauded the old course (but he played well on the new course also) saying the old set up well for his “full” shots. He talked of the victory as a confidence builder, though if these garishly patterned, grossly colored golfing slacks were what he wore, confidence may not be his biggest problem.
Clothing choices? Could be.
Scratch that last comment. No, amplify it. His website features a LOUD MOUTH CLOTHING section with logoed pants so ugly, so tasteless, so cool, and so original the whole collection should be either decorated and set in the Smithsonian or desecrated and dumped in the sewer.
Back to John. Granted, he was flush with a win, but his interview seemed to show a man no longer wrestling with demons of drink, for example. He seemed at peace with himself – no easy task, given that he admits to having “5,000 addictions.” Heck, it’s a rare clip when he doesn't have a cigarette in mouth or hand. Perhaps, even for the California born, now Arkansas resident Daly, age is a friend in wrestling and pinning down wayward ways. We don’t want Daly to shut his mouth – he is refreshingly candid, but he might want to think about shutting his wallet. He’s also remarkably candid in sharing stories of his gambling wins, AND LOSSES.
He lost as much as $55 to $57 million in gambling, mostly by playing blackjack. Seven hands at once. Worth $5-$10-$15 thousand per hand. Over a day, say. Or he’d do the one-armed bandit deal – the $5,000 one pull, one coin, slot machines in two days, say. He kept this up for about sixteen years and reckoned he frittered away, though he says he had fun doing it, $3.1 to $3.2 million per year. Hope the pants are selling well...
But he’s got more than bloody-ugly pants for sale. He’s a service guy, having designed at least six golf courses. One, called the Sevillano Links & Rolling Hills Casino course was praised by Golf Week Magazine. Another, called the Lion’s Den in Dardanelle, Arkansas was also owned by the blonde bomber. Unfortunately it had to be put up for sale, not enough members. So, apparently, it’s strictly a one day, one course, up and down and all around recovery pattern for John Daly in this facet of life too.
There is no denying, however, that in the facet of strictly playing golf, in an unrestricted manner, that John’s game was, and now of late is, complete - and a complete joy to behold. We all marveled at how his driver on the backswing would go past parallel to the ground. But he had a fine short game that was, not surprisingly, often overlooked as people couldn’t get past the cannonading tee shots. Anyone who can win two majors – the PGA and the British Open - in his case - has what it takes.
Now what about this Beko Classic? It was played on the Gloria Golf Resort. That’s the sea resort city of Antalya. This part of Turkey is known as the Turkish Riviera, what with its 400 miles of beaches. Certainly the river of golf success flowed well for John: in his second round he shot a 63. He likens the weather to that of Palm Springs. And like Palm Springs, Turkey in Antalya, and in the nearby township of Belek, has focused on building golf courses to draw visitors in. John, no doubt, will be going back (and the 48-year old is looking forward to his 50th birthday – for then he’ll be eligible for the PGA Champions Tour.)
And he’s going back to marriage too. He’s going to marry his caddy. Anna Cladakis will be his fifth wife. Practice makes perfect. She’s a brunette. She also doesn't lack for, ahem, taste. The skirts she wears while carrying John’s bag are as ugly as his pants. This marriage might work.
John’s life in and outside of golf can be summed up in a three word ditty: Hit it hard. He thinks so too, so much so that he’s recorded a song called: Hit it Hard. His voice isn’t bad, especially when he’s belting out the tunes. When the beat slows down, his voice suffers, but we don’t mind, for in watching, and now listening to John, we aren't looking for prettiness, but grittiness. Don’t know if he wrote the lyrics but they’re catchy. No laying up, no holding back. Kept taking chances, living large – that’s our watchable, irresistible, John Daly -
to a Tee.