John Daly still doesn’t drink -- alcohol, that is

Win McNamee

It’s all in a day’s work for John Daly, who says he’s still off booze but imbibes a dozen diet soft drinks and smokes 40 cigarettes in any given 24-hour period.

Tiger Woods may not be in Augusta for this year’s edition of the Masters but the always entertaining John Daly will be, as he'll once again hold court as he holds down the fort outside his RV in the Hooters parking lot about a Long John driver and wedge shot down the street from the august home of the men’s first major of the season.

Before leaving his home in Arkansas to kick off a tradition truly unlike any other, in which Daly annually hawks Loudmouth and other wares from the side of his mobile home, the two-time major champion graced Ewan Murray with a few bon mots about what he’s been up to since he stopped imbibing alcohol almost six years ago. Turns out, the 47-year-old who was last seen on the PGA Tour in March at the Valspar Championship carding a second-round 90 that included a 12 on the par-4 16th, has his hands full with another couple of habits that are not exactly part of Tiger’s balls-to-the-wall workout regimen.

Long gone are the days of binge drinking, which Daly has conceded could go on for up to a week after months of abstinence, so these days the big guy slakes his thirst with a mere dozen or so cans of Diet Coke in a day.

Why only 10 to 12 of the bubbly, down from as many as 28 in a 24-hour period? Successful weight-loss surgery, which Daly underwent in 2009, and the fizzy stuff don’t mix.

"The [lap] band won't allow me to drink as many," he told Murray. "If I don't have ice, I can't drink it. I can't have it straight because of the carbonation. I have to drink it slowly and not out of a can, I need some ice."

And then there are the cancer sticks. Daly acknowledged he smokes up to 40 cigarettes a day -- some of them during his rigorous gym routines.

"Some guys [on tour] want to do a little more cardio training; I can't see me being allowed to smoke a cigarette on a treadmill," he said. "I don't think they will let me into the gym if I do that. Will they?"

We're going to go with a "probably not" on that one. But if there’s one place that for sure would not look kindly on Daly’s daily nicotine consumption, it would be Augusta National, where the green jackets command that anyone setting foot on the hallowed grounds walk, don’t run; stash their cell phones somewhere off-site; and keep their "baba booeys" to themselves (where do you think you are, TPC Scottsdale?).

Daly is ineligible to participate in the main event he hasn’t started since 2006 but would dearly love to have another shot at Amen Corner. Though, as a former major champion, he would qualify for practice rounds and the annual Par-3 Contest, Mr. Grip It and Rip It will continue to keep his distance of about a mile down Washington Road.

"I feel like through doing the right things in the last few years of my career, I haven't had back from the game what I feel like I deserve," Daly said. "I was young and dumb back in the ‘90s but I had a lot of fun.

"I didn't think it would end," Daly admitted. "I kick myself in the ass every day for not trying a little harder or working on my game a little harder. I wish I had this mentality in the ‘90s."

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