John Daly - Globetrotting US Golf Ambassador


The past few weeks have brought us compelling golf... and entertaining golf stories... from all corners of the earth.

China inaugurated the celebrity-studded Mission Hills Star Trophy in Hainan and welcomed a stellar field of the world's top players to Shanghai, for the WGC- HSBC Champions.  Many of those stars then went on to play in Singapore or Australia, and some are now enroute to Hong Kong. Tiger Woods even squeezed in a charity event in Thailand along the way.

The top women golfers have been traveling as well. They've traversed Asia for competitions in South Korea, Malaysia and Japan.  This past week some headed to India while others jetted to Mexico.

Looking forward, the Middle East beckons, with the European Tour's Dubai World Championship and the LET's Dubai Ladies Masters both upcoming. 

"Global Golf" has officially become a buzz-phrase, and top players are making unexpected choices as to where they'll play in the future. Talk of an all-inclusive global golf tour is being heard more frequently as well.  Which brings me to John Daly... and a young man by the name of Alihan Afşar.

Like other professional golfers JD is traveling extensively these days.  While many US golfers played in Singapore, Australia and Orlando last week, Daly took his multi-chromatic, LoudMouth trousers to Antalya, Turkey for 2010 Beko Classic Pro-Am.

As usual, John kept his massive fan base informed throughout the trip with regular dispatches on Facebook and Twitter, often illustrated with shared snapshots.  And as always fans reacted on JD's Facebook wall... often by the hundreds... with question, comments and suggestions.   That's where I saw Mr. Afşar... who appears to be a golf-obsessed Turkish student... and his comment: "It was a great game, Mr. Daly".  Short and succinct,  yet heartfelt... and I definitely get the sense that the unconventional American golfer with the great, flowing swing and two majors under his belt, made an unforgettable impression on the young Turkish golf fan.  ~ Alihan Afşar's facebook status is currently set at "antalya walked with john daly".

John Daly is enormously popular in the US. To many American fans, he'll always be the "Wild Thing"; the one who plays by his own rules and isn't afraid to shake things up with the establishment.  ~ but his popularity overseas is also huge. From Scotland to Turkey... from Spain to Australia to South Korea... John Daly is seen as a "typical American" in the old-fashioned sense: consistently friendly, relaxed and down-to-earth... quick to smile, often self-effacing and always ready to help out with a cause. 

John Daly's two major victories are universally impressive, while his struggles with the game... and a couple of popular vices... are universally relate-able. The perfect balance of greatness and fallibility.

His delightful girlfriend Anna is almost always with him.  She's beautiful, has an amazing sense of humor and takes care of most of the photography duties on their global golf adventures. Anna is an awesome Ambassadoress.

The couple is in Hong Kong now where John will play in the  Hong Kong Open then it's on to Australia for the Australian Open and the Australian PGA Championship.   Meanwhile back in Turkey Alihan Afşar will be inspired by his memories of a day spent on the golf course with the affable golf ambassador.

Photos: via @PGA_JohnDaly