From his well-documented checkered past to his whimsical checkered pants, John Daly is a unique, colorful, charismatic professional golfer with fan base most of his fellow PGA Tour players can only dream of.
His rise out of nowhere is legendary but has often been overshadowed by incidents that have put him perilously close to the wrong side of the law, and kept him in constant contact with PGA Tour disciplinarians.
John Daly has always been unpredictable, impetuous and explosive, and he never tried to hide it, even as he navigated a culture where highly-disciplined control was the ideal. JD has always just been who he is.
John Daly never set himself up as a role model. He's acted upon his impulses openly, which in light of what's happened over the past couple of months, seems almost... ethical. Or at least far less disingenuous than the clandestine carryings-on of other fallen golf champions.
When it comes to what he is, John Daly is honest. And his honesty has not always served him well.
Therein lies the real challenge. Though he's kicked the booze and shed the weight, he hasn't yet been able to give up being John Daly... being openly, impulsively, honestly himself. Which is precisely what his masses of fans - myself included - want him to be.
Unfortunately, it's also exactly what threatens to derail his recovery and compromise his comeback. It's a kind of Catch-22, and everyone knows it, a logical paradox wherein Mr. Daly finds himself loved for who he is but compelled to cultivate an image that isn't him at all.
And that's what "Being John Daly" is about. And why I'm going to watch it and reflect on it and write about it. Because when you look just a bit beyond the surface it's a compelling portrayal of the struggle to stay true to oneself while outside forces are all pulling in decidedly different directions.
And that struggle is sure to continue... on The Golf Chanel and in real life. The latest installment is a Twitter "tit-for-tat" occurring in real time, and pitting the toe-headed, once-rotund golf hero known as @PGA_JohnDaly against a Florida sports scribbler known as @GSmitter. The Golf Writer's Association is strategizing their next move and the PGA Tour is not commenting. In other words, both are essentially doing what's expected of them.
Golf scribes are weighing in on the latest John Daly debacle as well, many were indignant and others were just one stop short of sanctimonious.
I'll admit it, I probably have more in common with the one they call Wild Thing than I do with his most vocal critics... or with the collective membership of the Golf Writer's Association for that matter... and I've always been susceptible to a story of redemption. Plus, to be perfectly transparent, I've gotten to know John Daly's girlfriend, Anna Cladakis and spent time with her at the PGA Merchandise Show last month, and quite simply, to know her is to love her. Really. She's that nice.
So you see where I come down. And I may not be the most objective observer in print, but I'm a John Daly supporter, and probably always will be.