LOS ANGELES: The golfing gods are watching over John Daly. And just to emphasise the point on Friday a clap of thunder rumbled overhead as Daly was talking to reporters about the 20kg he claims to have shed since Christmas.
I didnt lie, insisted Daly as he looked to the heavens and a roar of laughter engulfed the media tent.
No one was laughing at Dalys golf game on Friday at the Nissan Open. He fired a seven-under 64 to move to within three shots of the leaders heading into the third round of the US$4.8mil event.
The 37-year-old American captured his first American title in a decade last week in San Diego, making a dramatic birdie on the first playoff hole to win the Buick Invitational.
Daly had not won in 189 USPGA events since his 1995 British Open triumph.
Daly is hoping lightning strikes twice in the consecutive weeks. His round on Friday included eight birdies and a couple of stellar par saves.
I am just tickled at how solid Im hitting the ball, said Daly. It is probably one of the best striking rounds I had in a long, long time.
Nagged by weight and alcohol troubles for years, Daly says he is happier just being himself.
One of the more personable players on the PGA Tour, Daly is extremely popular with American fans and his gallery in Los Angeles rivals that of Tiger Woods.
Im just a good ol boy, said Daly, whose popularity has survived such incidents as being served with divorce papers after a practice round at Augusta National and walking off the course in the middle of the US Open.
A lot of my issues have been very sensitive. I know most of the comments I get from fans are positive, pretty much all of them, he said. I think everybody is still in shock from last week.
He says it doesnt bother him anymore if people say or write negative things about him.
Im a perfect target, said Daly, who was up to 282 pounds around Christmas but has dropped down to 238.
Daly has a country album, called My Life, and is raising money for the Make a Wish Foundation. He owns 48 guitars. Its so weird when I hear people singing my songs, said Daly.
Daly doesnt like flying so he travels by bus around the country. His home on wheels features three 42-inch (106 centimetre) plasma TVs.
My life is pretty simple now, said Daly. I go, I eat and play with my kids. I enjoy TV and their company and the bus has been great. I am sleeping in my own bed every night. I never have to pack or unpack.
His decision not to fly is based partly on fear but also on the inconvenience of airport travel.
You wait two hours and get there two hours before and everything is going off especially when I go through that (metal detector), said Daly.
I feel like a criminal going through the airport now. It is just no fun. And you pay to go through all of that misery?
I dont like airlines that do everything just a little past the oil change. You just pay for the gas and hope you get there.
You get in the plane and get a little diet Coke with a half plastic cup. The food tastes bad and you cant smoke. I cant stand it. AFP