Thursday was the day for which I, and all the other true believers, have been been waiting. John Daly shot a 67. After one round of the Farmers Insurance Open, he's three strokes out of the lead.
Also shooting a 67 was Phil Mickelson. Tiger Woods shot a 69.
I've always found Daly compelling because he doesn't pretend to be anything but who he is. I've interviewed him four times. The most recent was the best. He was across the street from Augusta National Golf Club, hawking merchandise in the parking lot of a nondescript strip mall.
I was told he wasn't doing interviews, so I bought a John Daly autographed cap for $20, which my Boston terrier later chose to eat. After I handed him the $20, I introduced myself and told him what I did. Between the cigarettes he chain-smoked, we talked as he sold.
Daly's appeal is that he is anti-country club. He is not pastels and deck shoes, khaki pants and shirts with gators or polo players. On Thursday in the first round in San Diego his pants looked like a crazed maze, swirling pink and orange and pretty much every other color you could name.
Daly is grip it and rip it, just smack the thing and see where it lands. At the age of 44, he remains the icon for those of us who would feel uncomfortable belonging to any country club that would have us.
If Daly has a round today like he had Thursday, and can sustain it through the weekend, the possiblities are enormous.
One of them is that we'll be able to read about a golfer other than Tiger Woods.