This is the week John Daly would normally be at the Masters. A two-time major winner, he hasn’t been a participant in the storied tournament since 2002, but remains an annual fixture while selling his apparel out of a trailer parked next to a Hooters near Augusta National Golf Club.
For the past few years, Daly arrived the Saturday before tournament week and didn’t leave until the afternoon of the final round. For 12 hours a day, he sold and autographed everything he brought for purchase: pictures, pin flags, hats, beanies, head covers, shirts and pants. Golf fans from around the world filtered through his offerings mainly because they wanted to meet Daly, who remains one of golf’s most beloved figures. One time he even signed a woman’s bare bottom.
“It’s like Arnold Palmer told me at his locker when me and Fuzzy [Zoeller] and Hubert [Green] were sitting there having a cocktail together,” Daly recalled. “He said, ‘Look if this ever ends — people taking pictures and asking for autographs — then your career is over.’ It does get tiresome, and as the day goes on people who’ve had a bit too much to drink can get a little mean. But everybody has a good time and that’s kind of what it’s about.”
The 2020 Masters has been postponed until Nov. 12-15 due to COVID-19, so Daly isn’t parked outside Hooters on Washington Avenue, but practicing social distancing at the golf course he owns in Dardanelle, Ark.