by Jeff Skinner
They say that politics makes strange bedfellows. Well sometimes golf does the same thing. Tomorrow at 2:20am EST two of the strangest “bedfellows” will tee it up as the luck of the draw has paired Tom Watson with John Daly for the final round of the 141st Open Championship.
There can’t be two professional golfers in the world that are more different than Watson and Daly. True, they do have some things in common. They both are former Open Champions and they both have made their living on the golf course. That’s about where the similarities end, unless you count the fact that they both wear pants and with Daly’s wardrobe that is even debatable.
Daly and Watson couldn’t be farther apart on the golfer’s social circle spectrum. Watson has fashioned a Hall of Fame career with eight major championships, thirty one PGA Tour wins and countless awards and enough good will that the entire sporting world cried when he squandered his chance at the 2009 Open Championship.
John Daly entered the golf world with a crash and a bang when he won the 1991 PGA Championship an alternate. Daly went on to win the 1995 Open Championship but he’s more famous for the way he parties rather than the way he plays golf. Daly lived in the fast lane and most of the time ended crashing and burning. He smoked, drank, and partied his way through life for a very long time and burned every bridge in the process. Divorces, arrests, breakdowns and fights marred Daly’s life. This is the guy that penned that famous song, “All My Exes Wear Rolexes.”
It’s just recently that he has, I’ll say this generously, “turned the corner” and almost got his life together. Part of Daly’s charm used to be you never knew what to expect. And that turned out to be his downfall. We all knew we could expect the worst from John and we got it.
Watson charmed the fans with his skills, grace and dignity. Daly captivated fans with his “grip it and rip it” attitude both on and off the course. They both still have huge followings and the English fans will get a treat tomorrow but these guys couldn’t be more opposite. I am not saying that Watson hasn’t had issues off the course, he has. And I am not saying that Daly hasn’t had a positive side either. Daly has a reputation for being a loyal friend and has raised tons of money for charity. That’s part of what gets him in trouble, he can’t say no to anyone.
Golf does make strange bedfellows. Watson and Daly are connected by their chosen professions but their lives couldn’t be more different.