John Daly has stated that he is looking forward to “hitting the European Tour” next week. ‘The Lion’ will play his first tournament of the year in the Race to Dubai‘s Open de Espana, following a sixth-month ban, which he received as a result of his off-course debauchery.

The troubled American, however, believes that his forthcoming return could signal a new era in his career, stating: “I can come back. I’ve come back from anything.”

Daly missed the cut in his last three events before Christmas, whilst his most recent victory came at the 2004 Buick Invitational. Yet despite just one top-20 finish in almost two years, Phil Mickelson‘s former coach Rick Smith believes that Daly can return to golf’s elite, stating: “I’ve worked with a lot of people in my life that had a lot of talent and he’s certainly at the top of the list.”

Long-hitting Daly seems determined to repay his coach’s faith and has lost three stone in weight since receiving an operation in February to limit how much he can eat.

“I tried the belly putter, but my belly was so big I did not know where to put it. Maybe I’ll try again now that I have lost a bit of weight,” joked Daly.

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