Colourful Daly lights up rainy day at St Andrews
Mr Wild Thing is still a huge hit among golf fans
John Daly has had four wives, three children, two Majors and says he knows only one way to live life - his way.
Never accused of being a regular guy, the 49-year-old American turned up at St Andrews in the first round sporting garish pink and green pants, promptly shot a one-under 71 and then scooted off the course before you could say, 'Hey, Mr Wild Thing'.
Back at the scene of his 1995 British Open triumph, Daly started the second round yesterday in more sober rain-gear and tied for 41st place.
Playing with Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jason Dufner, Daly bared his colours as early as the first hole when Jimenez looked for a ruling on casual water from the referees before playing his second shot.
Rather than wait for the ruling, an impatient Daly, whose ball was just two feet ahead of Jimenez, decided to play out of turn and hit his own approach first.
He parred the hole, along with Jimenez, but both men fell adrift after that, the cigar-smoking Spaniard firing a second-round 73 while the chain-smoking Daly carded a 74.
Unsurprisingly, Daly took out the driver a lot more in his second round, perhaps peeved that his first- round statistics had him 113rd in the field in driving distance with an average of 281 yards.
That helped the 1991 US PGA winner to a 320-yard average in the second round, although his fairways-hit accuracy dropped from 94 per cent to a dismal 56 per cent.
His two-round total of 145 meant he would spend the night wondering if he would make the cut for the weekend in the rain-delayed championship.
Watching the American for most of his round was Eamonn Duncan, a 43-year-old builder from Dundee.
Sporting some bright red tartan trousers himself, Stewart said that he had watched Daly win his first Open at St Andrews and had been fixated on the big-hitting American ever since.
"He isn't boring, is he?" said Duncan, taking a sip of beer from a lager glass outside the ropes on the 16th hole.
"I can't relate to a lot of the other golfers out here, but Daly and I, we're kindred spirits."
Though he didn't elaborate on his own vices, Duncan could be referring to Daly's much-publicised battles with alcohol and gambling addictions or perhaps the three messy divorces the American has been through.
Added Duncan, whose handicap, he says, is his Glaswegian wife: "I watched him play today and he can still move that ball, I tell you.
"A few putts here and there and he would have been right in it, I'm sure."
With the clubhouse leaders 10 shots away though, Duncan might have to wait another year to see his hero compete for the Claret Jug, although there is no doubting Daly's presence and popularity on the course.
A year away from turning 50 and being eligible for the US Seniors Tour, Daly has made no secret of his desire to keep playing the game that has brought him fame and riches and ignominy, all at the same time.
"I'm anxious to get on the Champions Tour and see my buddies," he said, in a recent interview with yahoo.com.
"I haven't really set goals. I don't think I'm ever going to be the No. 1 player in the world, so I just enjoy the game."
After his round yesterday, a few of us journalists stood in the mixed zone hoping to speak to Daly.
While playing partners Jimenez and Dufner obliged, Daly slipped away, cigarette in hand, despite being notified of our request.
Were we surprised? Not in the least bit.
The Wild Thing was doing his own thing, as always.
- TNP Deputy Editor S Murali's trip to St Andrews was sponsored by Rolex, Official Patron of the Open Championship.
-9: Danny Willett 66-69
-7: Zach Johnson 66-71, Marc Warren 68-69
-5: Steven Bowditch 70-69, Anirban Lahiri 69-70
-3: Padraig Harrington 72-69
-2: David Lipsky 73-69, Cameron Tringale 71-71, Gary Woodland 72-70
-1: Francesco Molinari 72-71, Richie Ramsay 72-71, Thongchai Jaidee 72-71
Even: Bernd Wiesberger 72-72, Jason Dufner 73-71, Ben Martin 74-70, Rafael Cabrera-Bello 71-73, Thomas Aiken 75-69
+1: Pablo Larrazabal 76-69, Marcel Siem 70-75, John Daly 71-74, Tommy Fleetwood 69-76.