(Reuters) - Leicester City's fairytale run to clinch the English Premier League soccer title was hailed by American golfer John Daly on Tuesday as he congratulated his fellow "underdogs" for their success.
Leicester, 5,000-1 outsiders at the start of the season, became champions for the first time and the first team to win a maiden English title since Nottingham Forest in 1978, having left the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea in their wake.
For Daly, Leicester's unexpected success echoed his first major victory at the 1991 PGA Championship where he was the ninth and final alternate into the field and found out just a day before the tournament began that he would be playing.
"I was fixing to say, it's like me winning the PGA in '91," Daly said on a teleconference call while preparing for his debut on the over-50s Champions Tour at this week's Insperity Invitational at The Woodlands in Texas.
"That's great that they (Leicester) did that ... it just shows that the talent in sports, especially team sports ... it doesn't matter how much you pay one player on one team, it doesn't make them the best.
"So my hats off to them for winning it all because they're like the underdogs, and that's what I've always been all my life. I'm a fan of theirs now, big-time fan. God bless them for winning it all."
Daly, a five-times winner on the regular PGA Tour where two of his victories came in major championships, readily admits his golf game is in rusty shape but he is eagerly looking forward to once again competing against some of his long-time friends.
"I saw Fuzzy (Zoeller), John Huston, Mark Wiebe, Peter Jacobsen, Fred Funk and all of them," the 1995 British Open champion said ahead of the for the May 6-8 Insperity Invitational. "They're all excited that I'm out here.
"These are kind of the guys that I grew up with when I first came on the Tour and they kind of took me under their wing in some aspects, telling me when I'm screwing up and telling me when I'm doing good.
"Just a bunch of good men out here that are legends of the game, and it's kind of an honor to be around them again and play against them."
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue