You can say a lot of things about John Daly — not many of them good — but the guy is loyal to his pals.
Daly, who has opted out of the past three PGA European Tour events, was in the Tampa Bay area for Super Bowl XLIII and defended recently fired Bucs coach — and his onetime caddie — Jon Gruden.
"I love Coach Gruden. He's one of my best friends," Daly, was quoted on WTSP-Ch. 10's Web site. "I felt he probably should have been released a little earlier, so maybe he would have had a chance at the Broncos, the Browns or the Jets (coaching jobs). … I did not like that at all."
At last year's PODS Championship at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Daly, taking a break in a Hooters hospitality tent during a rain delay, talked Gruden into being his caddie. That was one of several Daly missteps in 2008 that led to his six-month suspension from the PGA Tour. It will end in the spring.
Daly says he left a message for Gruden.
"I just said, 'You know what, I'm here for you. I've been through a lot. You know, you get to spend time with your family. Get a lot of money for the next three years whether you coach or not,' " Daly, 42, said. "I don't know if it helped him, but he called right back and said, 'Thanks.' "