2012 PGA Championship Interview Transcript -- John Daly

 

JOHN DALY:  It was dry, the greens were hard, it was generous off the tee.  You could take it on a little bit.  Like 13 today, I hit driver off the tee, but it's risk reward.  That's what you love about golf.  It's risk reward.  But I love the greens.

Q.  The thing is that the fairways aren't rolling out at all right now, so if you do hit the driver you're really rewarded by hitting that club off the tee.

JOHN DALY:  Yeah, I mean, some of the shots today, they're making a pitch mark and only rolling about five feet.  I got a few mud balls today, but I'd rather play that way than play when it's dry because (indiscernible.) It's playing fair.  13 is tough.  17 is just 17.  But 14, it's just a tough hole.  I mean, it's impossible to hit a 3 iron on there.

Q.  How important was last week to make today happen?

JOHN DALY:  I think it's kind of been building up for the last five or six weeks.  I played solid in Canada except for one hole.  I played like my best ball striking rounds were at the British Open this year.  I couldn't have hit it any better.  I just didn't get any breaks.  That's just the way the course plays. But Qatar, starting in Qatar, I finished fourth, just gave me a little confidence.  Like I've always said, when I get on a little run, six, seven, eight weeks in a row, I feel like I have a better chance of playing well, and it's starting to pay off a little bit, but that's when you're making cuts.  I always believed when you're making cuts, it gives you a chance to get some confidence in your game. So I'm getting a lot of confidence, but I'm just hitting the ball solid.

Q.  What were your expectations before coming?

JOHN DALY:  Well, I've been playing good.  I'm trying to keep at my own pace, just be myself and just play golf and enjoy it.  This is such a fabulous golf course, you sit there all day long, especially starting on the front, and you can't help but think, all day long, if I just par the par 3s this week, I have a chance to play really, really well.  It's not just 14 and 17.  The two on the front aren't exactly easy, either. To me that's the significance of this golf course.  The long par 4s at least give you a risk reward for being    if you're long, you can take it on with a driver and take the chance, but if you hit a fairway    I hit a 9 iron into I think it was 12 or 13 today, which in a practice round when you hit 2 iron or 3 wood off the tee, I was hitting 4 wood in there.  It's just a course I feel like I've got to take it on.

Q.  With all the ups and downs in your performance and what you've been through, why do you think your magnetism with galleries and fans endures?

JOHN DALY:  It's just like my golf game.  It is up and down, but so is my life, and everybody's life is up and down.  It's how we battle to get through it, and I think people relate to that.

Q.  How do you explain this roll that you've been in almost every tournament.

JOHN DALY:  I think just playing.  You're playing competitive, and it's always better to play four competitive rounds than it is two because you sit there for a weekend and then you start all over again.  So for me it's just getting in a rhythm and finding out what I need to work on and what I don't because you go and you play two days and now you've got to take Saturday off, travel, maybe go somewhere or whatever, but I just like to keep on going and keep playing, and I think it's kind of like last year, I got in this little rhythm, not quite this good, but at Canada, and then I didn't get to play much.  I had to take two or three weeks off because I couldn't get in anything. It was just a matter of just keep playing and hopefully keep building on the confidence.

Q.  Was there a shot or a hole here that kind of got you going where you felt like you were on your game today?

JOHN DALY:  The first tee ball because I'm sitting there, am I going to take this hole on 1 today, I just ripped a driver on 1 and spun an L wedge back to about 10 feet, 12 feet.  I didn't make the putt, but I hit a good putt, and then I birdied 2    actually not 2 but 3, birdied 3.  Got it going a little bit.  Yeah, I think for me just giving myself opportunities and hitting the greens out here, they're not the easiest to hit.  Just trying to enjoy it and have fun and just keep doing what I'm doing.

Q.  (Inaudible.)

JOHN DALY:  They're amazing.  The crowds are always amazing.  Just keep you going.  They were getting good, getting good and loud on the back nine today.  I love it.  I don't know if too many players do, but I love it.  Good round on my back nine today.  I love it.  I don't know if other players do, but I love it.

Q.  On your second shot, second hole, what was your shot over the trees?

JOHN DALY:  Like 282.  I just tried to hit a 3 wood to the left there.

Q.  What would it mean if you did well here?

JOHN DALY:  Last week was great.  I know it was opposite of Firestone, but still, as good as all the players are these days, it doesn't matter where you play good, you're still playing against some unbelievable players.  No, I just want to play.  It doesn't really matter.  I love to play great, but as long as I walk out of here knowing I played and did the best I can, that's all that matters.  And the way I'm hitting it, I just don't want to get too up or too down about it.  It's just the first round.  But I like where I'm at, and I like the way I'm playing and I like the way I'm feeling.  So just go out and just play and have fun, like I said.

Q.  Do you get any special feeling?  Do you let yourself embrace the memories?

JOHN DALY:  Well, you do, but you're always playing a different course.  That's the one thing about Augusta, that's why it's so special.  Guys who win there, they go back.  I haven't been back to Crooked Stick for a tournament since I won.  It's always special to win a major, don't get me wrong, but St. Andrews we go back every five years, the Masters is the same, U.S. Open is kind of like the PGA, they just move around so much.  It kind of takes it out a little bit.  But it doesn't matter. I mean, I still won it in '91 and it'll always be special.  But I haven't been back for a tournament at Crooked Stick since then.

Q.  How difficult was the up and down on 18 and how important was it to get that par save and not give one back on the last hole and keep the momentum going?

JOHN DALY:  Well, it was important.  I thought I hit a better chip than that, it just kind of scooted a little bit.  I caught a bad break off the tee and a good break on the second shot, but that ball could have been in the bunker, buried or something in that bunker by the green, and it just kind of skipped over it.  But it was a good par putt.  But it keeps the momentum going.

Q.  Has it been difficult trying to play your way back in this?

JOHN DALY:  Yeah, but I'm adapting to going back and forth a little bit.  Don't get me wrong, I love the European Tour, but it would be great to play at home.  But the guys on the European Tour are good guys.  They're    I'm not saying ours aren't, but they just seem to be more into helping you out a little bit more than our guys do, and maybe it's because they don't play for as much money as we do or whatever.  But they make me feel good over in Europe. Either way, it doesn't really matter to me.  I love playing both tours, but like I said, my goal would be to be back on our Tour, no doubt.  But there's that option, and it's not a bad one to be honest with you.

Q.  Are you as big a fan favorite over in Europe as you were here for X amount of years?

JOHN DALY:  I think because I haven't played in Europe as much.  The last couple years I've played a lot, but I think the fans seeing different Americans come over, I think they really appreciate it.  I know Rich Beem and Shaun Micheel are well appreciated over there, major winners, and the fans are great, and the tournaments are good. 
The weather, it's a little rougher than what we have here, no doubt, but you just adapt.  That just shows the competitiveness that we all have, whether we're playing here and the guys that go back to whether it's the Web.com or back to Europe, whatever, we want to play and we're competitive, and none of us are very, very far from being one of the top 50 guys.  It's just golf.  It could be chipping.  It could be putting.  It could be one bad tee ball.  You never know.  I think we thrive on that, and we're all so competitive, we just want to get back out here.

Q.  How far are you, John?

JOHN DALY:  I don't think I'm that far.  I don't think any of us are that are fighting to get our cards or fighting to win or whatever.  We're never, ever that far.  I just believe if I keep telling myself, I'll get where I want to be instead of being negative about it.  That's really all you can do.  That putt could have easily    I could have easily three putted 18.  It wasn't the slowest putt.  It was straight downhill, and then I could have missed it, as well.  But the putt went in, and it keeps the momentum going.  That's the kind of changes that you like to see to keep things going.

Q.  Where do you want to be?

JOHN DALY:  I want to be here, playing our Tour.  I want to be like everybody else in the top 50 and getting that free money in the World Golf Championships and be in all the majors and getting sponsors, big, big sponsors and stuff like that.  I've got some pretty great sponsors in LoudMouth and Pilot, but you just want to get a schedule.  I'm not really speaking for Rich Beem and Shaun, but we want a schedule.  We don't want to wait to get in tournaments here and then hopefully get in tournaments in Europe.  We know we're going to get in some, but it's tough.
You sit by the phone a little bit, and you hope to get on a stretch, get on a run, get in six or eight weeks in a row because I don't mind playing that much golf as long as I'm healthy.

Q.  You bogeyed 14 but mentally you got past that.  Talk about that.

JOHN DALY:  Well, the best shot I hit today was on 14, and I made bogey.  I couldn't hit a better 3 iron, it just landed 35 feet short of the hole and goes by the flag and back down the hill and I've got a 35, 40 yard chip shot.  You just can't get upset over that.  That's just the way that hole plays.  That hole would be hard if you were hitting a 5 iron or a 6 iron into it.  It would be more fair, but it would still be just as hard.  It would still be hard.

Q.  With the driver and 3 wood, you seemed just supremely confident today.  Am I right about that?

JOHN DALY:  Yeah, the driver is a TaylorMade driver, and the new 3 wood has been a blessing this year.  The RocketBallz, I think, has been a blessing for all the TaylorMade staff guys.  It's just the best 3 wood that I've ever hit, and I don't know how they can get any better to tell you the truth.  I've got mine knocked down to a 12 degree, which is almost like a driver, but it fits most all the golf courses we play now.  The driver I can still hit 310, 315, 320 at times, but when holes are running out at 310 and 315, 3 wood is getting just short of it around 295, 300.  It's almost like a backup driver.

Q.  How much has your memory of the PGA sustained you, the feelings you remember from those?

JOHN DALY:  Well, you just try and thrive on the good things, and what I was doing different then, everything is just perfect outside the ropes in my life, so I can concentrate on golf.  I think more importantly, my mind is right to give me a chance.  If I make a double, who cares.  If I play good here, it doesn't really matter to me.  If I play bad, it doesn't matter to me.  But I want to play good.
I'm just kind of loosey goosey out there, and it just feels good, and I think for me, to just free wheel it is the only way I can get my confidence back instead of worrying about bad breaks and worrying about this and worrying about what somebody else is doing, I only need to worry about what I'm doing and go out and attack and play golf and enjoy it.

Q.  You talked about your mind being right, right now.  What led to that?  You seem like you're in a very good place right now both on and off the course.

JOHN DALY:  I learned a lot in the third grade teaching little John.  No, he just passed last week.  He passed the third grade, so I got him through three grades in a year and a half.  I think just spending a lot of time around him and being with him and my daughters are with me now, and I just feel like my whole family is a lot closer and I don't have to worry about them as much as I used to.  I think in honest I have a very special lady in my life, too.  When you've got everybody together, it just makes you feel more comfortable and more ease in your own life.

Q.  Your mom was ill during the Australian Open.  Has she passed since then?

JOHN DALY:  I actually lost her like three or four days, it was like the Monday of Australia.  I talked to my family at that time, and my brother said, just play.  Just play, and we'll have the funeral when you get back, so I went home after that.  But that was a rough week.

Q.  You never said anything about it.

JOHN DALY:  No, and the media didn't, either, although we talked about it.  That's when people bashed me when they didn't really know the whole story.  But from the tournament when it happened I got a beautiful Ping putter out of it.

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