Tuesday, April 15, 2008

John Daly discusses Tiger Woods

Here's a great item from The Independent. Is John Daly on to something here? or is his argument merely sour grapes?

Daly would rather drink to Woods' fitness philosophy

By Phil Casey in Stockholm
Thursday, 16 August 2007

The former Open champion John Daly had a vivid and emphatic response yesterday to Tiger Woods' sermon on the benefits of physical fitness in golf.

"Every time I worked out I threw up and I thought to myself, 'I can get drunk and throw up, I don't need to do this!'" was Daly's view of Woods' comments after he won the 13th major of his career in the USPGA Championship on Sunday.

Woods defied the sweltering conditions at Southern Hills and afterwards extolled the virtues of his fitness programme.

"You should always train hard and bust your butt," Woods said following his two-shot victory achieved in temperatures well over 100 degrees. "That's what a sport is. The thing is that not everyone considers golf a sport and they don't treat it as such."

Woods did not name names, but Daly could be considered a prime example of the kind of player he was referring to, a 41-year-old smoker who has battled weight, drink and gambling problems – and gone through three divorces – which have undoubtedly dimmed his huge natural talent. But Daly insists that working out in the gym does not agree with him and has no intention of changing his ways to try to add a third major title to his 1991 USPGA and 1995 Open victories. "I think I did better than most players last week who do work out," he said, third after the opening round at Southern Hills before fading to a share of 32nd. "I saw Vijay [Singh] finding the shade of a tree whenever he could and he looked worn out. I don't think it matters if you work out or if you don't work out, I am used to the heat like that so it doesn't bother me as much as some of the other guys.

"I don't think training or conditioning has anything to do with it. Heat is heat but the fat boys like me, we can get through the heat.

"I tried (working out) when I was at Reebok in the early 1990s but I got tired of it, every time I worked out I threw up and I thought to mysel, "I can get drunk and throw up, I don't need to do this'!

"You throw up after an hour's work out, but you can drink for 20 hours before throwing up, so it is just not for me, I don't like it.

"I am flexible enough, but there are probably some things I could do to keep my flexibility up, but I just don't want to do it.

"I'd rather smoke, drink diet Cokes and eat! It just doesn't mean that much to me to work out, lift weights and run. I get enough exercise walking five or six miles a day."


Mike Austin said...

Woods states "The thing is that not everyone considers golf a sport and they don't treat it as such."
We were just discussing the definition of sport yesterday in my classes. It is difficult to give a precise analysis of sport in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions, but Boxill has laid out some paradigmatic features of sport. Using her list, golf would qualify as a sport:
1. voluntary activity
2. physically challenging
3. rule-governed
4. competition
Regarding Daly's remarks, if golf is a sport according to the above set of paradigmatic features, then he becomes a competitor who fails to train in order to achieve excellence in his sport. If sport, as some sport philosophers have conceived of it, is "a mutual quest for excellence through challenge," then Daly is not only failing to realize his potential, but by so doing he is failing to do his part in this mutual quest.

Jim Tantillo said...

I have no problem defining golf as a sport (interpreted as a physical contest/game--by that criterion, competitive shooting e.g., is a sport).

My question for Mike is about the "mutual quest for excellence" criterion for sport: if one's goal in a sport is not excellence but rather simple competence or adequacy, does that disqualify one as a "sportsman/woman"?

This question speaks to the seriousness of sport: we all know people who merely "play at" golf--taking mulligans, kicking balls out of bushes, etc.,--and those people are not actually "playing" golf. In violating the constitutive rules of the game they show they are not serious about the game.

But I would then have more difficulty with the suggestion that seems to follow, that the casual golfer (Daly included, perhaps?) who merely "plays at" a sport is thereby not engaged in the "sport" per se. Can't one be engaged in a sport and not desire to improve one's skills? Why does the quest for excellence define sport?

Mike Austin said...

I was not precise enough in my comments, and I agree with you. It is not sport that is the mutual quest for excellence, but more specifically this is a way to conceive of athletic competition. I would still say that 1-4 in my first comments above are applicable, even if the quest for excellence is reserved for more serious participants in sport.

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