Happy Birthday John Daly!
Those of you that have followed our Tas-Tee story know that I became captivated with the great game of golf when I was a young man attending my first golf tournament. My dad took me to The British Open at St. Andrews and once I saw John Daly hit a golf ball, I knew my life had to involve this great game.
John Daly landed in Scotland in 1995, a figure that was bigger than life to me as a young man growing up abroad. He had blonde hair and a huge swing. He had baggy clothes and cigarettes. He had an "intoxicating" swagger and nonchalance that I picked up on, even having never before seen anything like it in person.
His confidence was evident with every swing, even his wayward ones. In his practice round on Wednesday, my dad and I positioned ourselves so far down the fairway on the par 5 14th that we could barely make out the shapes of people on the tee box. The first shape wasted little time teeing up his ball and laying into it with every ounce of energy. I eagerly watched the fairway awaiting the ball's landing, still not knowing who could've hit it. Two people to our left stepped back at the same time and it caught my eye, a ball bouncing through the rough right at my dad and me. As if plucked from a fairy tale, the ball quickly lost momentum and came to a stop by my dad's left foot. We both looked down to see a maroon razorback logo looking right back at us and I'll never forget my dad saying, "it's his!"
The next 10 minutes were a blur to me, I recall him walking over, shaking hands and pulling a club that could reach the green but I think I was just in shock. What kind of game allows its' players to be accessed so closely and why did these professionals feel the need to engage with the crowd?
Over the next 5 days I learned that golf was different than any other sport experience I'd known. I watched Jack tee off on a par 3, then throw me his half-tee. I saw Freddie toss a ball to a kid that would never lose it. This game is different and in so many ways, better. I was hooked.
I attribute my love of the game to that British Open at St. Andrews (who could've asked for more) and the two men that made that memory a lasting one for me, my dad and John Daly. While I have had several conversations with my dad about how much that time meant to me, I have never had the pleasure of meeting John Daly and telling him how he changed my perception of golf, and in doing so, my life. That conversation is a life goal that I am currently pursuing.
Having said all of that, happy 53rd birthday to a man so great, he couldn't possibly fathom the positive impact he's made on some of us. Thanks John!
holy hell, I’ve got an entity actually taking issue with the google image I put on this tiny blog years ago. I’ve removed the picture in this blog so the powers that he can proceed to make their rightful money. So sorry.