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A slimmer John Daly is back on the course

April 29, 2009 | 10:29 am


John Daly, the troubled double-major-championship winner who was banned from the PGA Tour for six months last November, is back on the golf course again. Whether he has his life back on course remains to be seen.

Daly, 43, is playing competitively for the first time since December in this week's Spanish Open after having lost about 60 pounds, to get down to 220 -- about the weight he was when he won the 1995 British Open. He's hopeful he can at some point regain the form of 1995 and 1991, when as an unknown alternate he won the PGA Championship.

"I wanted to lose the weight to get better at golf," he told reporters this week. "You get to the point when nothing goes right and you almost give up on yourself, but I love the game. I want to keep playing, and no matter what it takes, I will do that."

Daly is without sponsors. Banned from the U.S. tour after being accused of being drunk and incapacitated outside a bar, after years of erratic behavior on and off the course, Daly is looking to resume his career on the European tour. He will play the Italian Open and the Irish Open the next two weeks. 

He has always been a magnetic figure in golf, immensely talented, known for his power but blessed with a deft short game as well. If he were to overcome the demons that have swirled in his head for so long, the U.S. tour could benefit from his recovery. History, though, would indicate that that recovery is a long shot.

-- Mike James

Photos: John Daly a year ago, left, and this week in Spain. Photo credits: left, Stuart Franklin / Getty Images; right, Warren Little / Getty Images