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Lisa Guerrero: A chat with Jim McMahon and John Daly

October 22, 2008 |  5:40 pm

John Daly

This Blue State reporter traveled into Red State territory over the last several days and learned a few key things:

  • People really do drink moonshine in Kentucky.
  • Country music when performed live is really quite enjoyable.
  • Folks love Sarah Palin in Tennessee. They really, really love her. Really.
  • One can consume more calories in a single meal in the South than in one week of meals in SoCal. I highly recommend the fried chicken, pulled pork with vinegar-based barbeque sauce, mac and cheese, corn bread, fried green tomatoes and sweet tea. This is followed by a warm pecan pie topped with ice cream and a shot of moonshine swallowed directly from a mason jar. Delicious.

I was told that the batch of moonshine broken out for my enjoyment is called “Gramma’s Apple Pie,”  and is so strong that if you dip a spoon into the stuff and light a match underneath it, the spoon will melt.

Lisa Guerrero Naturally, I had a shot.

It looked a little like a urine test and smelled like cinnamon. The other local “good stuff” is cherry flavored and looks like Tang.

My journey to the Campbell Chevrolet Celebrity Golf Classic hosted by John Daly and (country music artist) Steve Azar included a stop in Nashville with a show at the Grand Ole Opry.

A bunch of folks I’d never heard of sang up a storm for two hours. My favorite was Heidi Newfield, a pretty blonde who kinda looks like the cheerleader from the TV series "Heroes" and has a hit song called, “Johnny and June.” Apparently, female country stars no longer sport sequins, cleavage, blue eye shadow or big hair, which was disappointing, but the dudes mostly still wear cowboy hats, which is good to know. I have no idea why, but it comforts me.

After a couple of days in Music City, the party heads north to Bowling Green, Ky. and The Club at Olde Stone, home of the 2008 Junior Ryder Cup and one of Golf Week’s “Best New Courses” of 2007. The money raised during the Campbell Chevrolet Celebrity Golf Classic was to benefit the fight against autism.

Among the celebrities were lots of country music friends of John Daly’s, including Colt Ford, Julie Roberts, Larry Stewart, Ira Dean and Ray Scott.

They (and a dozen others) played concerts both Monday and Tuesday night and sang lots of songs I’ve never heard of, but enjoyed immensely. My new fave is a little ditty called, “Trash In My Trailer.”

I so enjoyed the music, and was so caught up in the spirit (and frankly, hung over) from my introduction to “Gramma’s Apple Pie”) that I sat down and penned my own country song. It’s called “The Comeback,” and it’s about an aging pitcher who still wants to play (three guesses who I wrote that song about).

Keith Burns of Trick Pony liked it and is going to “lay down a track” for me. Apparently, this means he’s putting it to music. If I get nominated for a Country Music Award I promise you that I’ll show up wearing sequins, cleavage, blue eye shadow and big hair.

Some athletes were in attendance as well, including Super Bowl quarterback Jim McMahon, two-time Olympic gold medalist Steve Lundquist, recent Ryder Cup champion Kenny Perry and five-time Pro Bowl tight end Wesley Walls.

In between rounds of golf and rounds of beer, I sat down with Daly and McMahon and

asked them my “Seven Standard Questions."

Lisa G: What was the most memorable moment of your career?

Daly: There are three: Winning the PGA outta nowhere, winning the British Open and then, after a nine-year drought, winning in Torrey Pines in San Diego in 2004.

Jim McMahonMcMahon: Everybody talks about the Super Bowl, but that wasn’t the highlight of my career. Bad memories for me. I was just happy to get out of New Orleans alive after what happened to me that week. The highlight of my career wasn’t the games, it was hanging out with the guys in the locker room.

Lisa G: What is your proudest personal accomplishment?

Daly: I haven’t had it yet.

McMahon: My four great kids, two boys and two girls. I’ve never had a problem with them (he laughs). They weren’t like me.

Lisa G: If you could be great at a different sport, what would it be?

McMahon: I always wanted to be a baseball player. If my scholarship (to BYU) would’ve been in baseball, I would’ve kept playing. I was an outfielder.

Daly: I’d be a field-goal kicker in the NFL. God knows they need good ones right now.

Lisa G: What’s the biggest misconception about you?

Daly: Pretty much everything. They don’t know me. People that wanna criticize and ridicule me just don’t know me. In the media, the perception of me is not good, but the reality of me is great, and to me, that’s all that matters.

(My observation of Daly over the last couple days is that, as far as I could see, he posed for every photo and signed each autograph request, often balancing a Marlboro and a drink in the other hand.)

McMahon: I really have no idea what people think of me. People tell me all the time that I’m nothing like they thought I’d be. They read too much crap in the newspapers. I like to have a good time -– that’s it.

Lisa G: What are you paying the most attention to right now: The baseball playoffs, the NFL season or the election?

McMahon: The baseball playoffs. I live in Chicago, so both my teams, the Cubs and the White Sox, are out, but I’m happy to see what Tampa Bay did. I’d like to see them win it.

Daly: As far as the election, it doesn’t matter who wins, our country’s screwed. I like Pat Burrell, he’s a good buddy of mine, so I hope Philly wins, but my girlfriend’s from Tampa, so don’t tell her I said that.

Lisa G: In your spare time, you’re most likely doing what?

Daly: Hanging around at home in Arkansas playin’ golf at my club and playin’ music. (Daly jammed with the band on Monday night playing guitar and singing a pretty good version of “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.”).

McMahon: I lay around on my bed, watching TV mostly.

Lisa G: Last question: Beer, wine or moonshine?

McMahon: Beer.

Daly: All of the above.

-- Lisa Guerrero

Lisa Guerrero has covered Super Bowls, the NBA Finals and the World Series, along with the Oscars, Emmys and Grammys. As an actress, she has appeared on "Frasier" and "The George Lopez Show" and as Billy Baldwin's long-suffering wife in the film "A Plumm Summer," which she executive-produced.

Top photo: John Daly hits a tee shot during the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas on Oct. 16, 2008. Credit: Isaac Brekken / Associated Press

Insert photo: Former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon waves to Wrigley Field crowd before throwing the ceremonial first pitch before a Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies game in August. Credit: Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press