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An open letter to John Daly

October 29, 2008

Dear John,

As one of your biggest supporters, I write this letter in light of your recent detainment by police in Winston-Salem, N.C. for passing out drunk at a Hooters restaurant.

John, I've been a fan since you burst onto the scene in 1991 to win the PGA Championship.

I've followed your progress ever since, watching you win the 1995 British Open and smash the ball further than anyone thought humanly possible. I openly cheered when you finally were able to win again in 2004 at Torrey Pines, and was literally sick to my stomach watching you narrowly lose to Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh in playoffs around that same time.

It's no secret your game has been in a monumental tailspin. It's no secret your life has been a blurry battle with alcohol, ex-wives, gambling and above all, hating yourself.

Even when your book came out, and it seemed as if you were blaming everyone and everything for your problems, I still supported you.

In fact, reading your book only made me more of a fan. Fans love you because they connect with you and your lifestyle.

In three years as a sports editor for this little paper in Northeast Ohio, I have written more columns on you than any other subject.

Every Associated Press story that came across the wire, I ran, usually as a main package, even though it's been the same story for years -you supposedly trying to get your game back on track, and failing.

I connect with you on a lot of levels -divorce, music, gambling, alcohol, battles with anti-depressants -I've written about them all. I've written columns on you using my own first-person experiences. Those columns have won me awards. You writing your book to open up on your problems inspired me to write and open up about mine.

I've followed your every move. On the rare occasion that you make a cut on one of your seemingly endless sponsor's exemption, I add it to the story if it's not there or run a photo.

You say all the time that the media is unfair to you. This media outlet has almost been nothing short of an increasingly positive spin on your sideshow of a life for the past two years.

I watch you on the Golf Channel religiously on Thursday's and Friday's, because that's really the only time to catch you.

I had the pleasure to interview you and watch you play at the 84 Lumber Classic in 2006. You didn't make the cut, but I got my photo taken with one of my idols, and got to see you in first person demolish a golf ball.

The closest tournament in proximity you've been at since has been your jaunts with Kid Rock in Michigan. Believe me, I know. I've hoped you could make the only professional tournament in our area, the World Golf Championship at Firestone in Akron for the past three years. You haven't even been close.

I defended you when Butch Harmon went public about your split with him as you coach.

I defended you when you missed your tee time at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

I defended you when you used Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden as a caddy.

I defended you when everyone else wrote you off.

I defended you when almost everyone else in my profession left you for dead.

John, I can't do it anymore.

If you can't see the positives in you life by now - your kids, your fans, your talent, your charities - you never will.

If you can't get it together now, you never will.

Get help. Get your life back on track.

Not for golf. Not for your fans. Not even for your friends and family.

Get help for you. You are hating yourself to death.

I'll keep watching, but I'm done writing.

Always a fan,

B.J. Lisko

Salem News Sports Editor



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