John Daly Gears Up For Champions Event In Morocco By Rippin’ Cigs To Toby Keith’s “As Good As I Once Was”

John Daly golf
PGA Tour

The PGA Tour Champions circuit hits Morocco this week, and you’d better believe John Daly is on the scene so as to not miss out on an exotic trip to North Africa in the colorful odyssey that his life continues to be.

I’m certain that John Daly gives that Dos Equis guy a run for his money for the title of “The Most Interesting Man In The World.” Daly’s peer, Miguel Angel Jimenez, owns that “most interesting” distinction in the golf world in many circles, but I don’t know if any public figure in the world of sports has led a more interesting, wild life than Daly. Seeing him do anything normal is extraordinary.

You have to appreciate the bookends of the video below that was shot when Daly was preparing for Trophy Hassan II event. Daly starts by saying he can’t carry a driver 285 yards anymore, and right at the end, we get an in medias res needle drop of the late, great Toby Keith’s hit song, “As Good As I Once Was”, which deals with being past one’s prime.

Not surprising to hear a country musician like Daly bumping those tunes, particularly to pay homage to one of his best friends. Hilarity and Daly’s antics aside, Keith did pass away earlier this month at the age of 62 due to stomach cancer. What’s been inspiring is to see how the country music world has rallied around his memory in the ensuing weeks.

Right after Keith passed, Daly posted to Twitter about how heartbroken he was:

Figured all that was worth acknowledging before diving back into the main part of the story. Respect to the legend Toby Keith, who was a household name even to those largely ignorant of country music.

Circling back to John Daly, he also signed a ball for a young fan in that video. That’s one thing you can always point to with Long John. Did he sabotage his career, underachieve relative to his immense talent, and let his wilder side take over too often? Absolutely, and he would readily admit that. However, if he were to have stayed on a more traditional, straight-and-narrow path, we wouldn’t get the John Daly everyone knows and loves today.

Daly is so relatable, so beloved and so human because of his flaws. What I’ve always seen from Daly, though, in all seriousness, is a genuine desire to grow the game, take time for his fans, and do what he could to better the next generations to come. He once bought a struggling golf course in his native Arkansas, made it public, and gave free access to high school and college students. With all his philanthropic and business endeavors, vices that have gotten the best of him at times, and even a bout with bladder cancer, Daly continues to live his most unusual life as he sees fit. You couldn’t better summarize his general, personal paradigm than by his second country album title: I Only Know One Way.

That one way is akin to the philosophy I’ve heard thrown around by New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh: All gas, no brake. Sounds reckless and dangerous on principle… but also kinda fun. Hence Daly’s signature, super-lengthy backswing, along with his ability to somehow smoke a cigarette and hit a classy bunker shot at the same time.

For man who contains such multitudes — and this write-up of him is an intentionally meandering pastiche of sorts, designed to capture his singular aesthetic — it wouldn’t surprise you that Daly got his mind right for Morocco by hanging out with some camels, would it?

It’s a great sign that Daly is back in action, too, because he was forced to withdraw from his last tournament due to injury.

Sending all the best and wishes of good health to John Daly, because no matter where he’s playing, the game of golf is better when he’s out there gripping and ripping it. What’s more, he’s rocking a ZZ Top-length beard and letting that healthy mane grow all the way out. Rock those if you got those, right?

PS, anecdotal tangent that may only interest myself: With all the chaos across the modern golf landscape at the highest professional ranks, and the advent of the Netflix series Full Swing to document much of that, why aren’t entertainment/TV/streaming executives bending over backwards to follow Daly around in the twilight of his career? Is it low-key already happening and I just don’t know about it?

Any chance we can get, like, a two-for-one reality show starring Daly and Miguel Angel Jimenez? I guarantee that would be a smash hit. Then it could be better determined who is, in fact, the most interesting man in golf.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock