Before some of you get all fired up over my use of “legend” and “John Daly” in the same sentence, relax. I don’t mean it in the way that I would when I’m referring to Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, etc. But, Daly is indeed a “legend’ in his own right. Well, maybe “folk hero” is more accurate, but the guy did win two majors, including the 1995 Open Championship at St Andrews (aside: I love hearing stories from reporters that were present for the trophy presentation and ensuing celebration).
Daly is like golf’s Everyman in a sport that’s known for its rigid, uptight and exclusionary practices. So, happy 50th birthday, John Daly!
And there’s a fair number of golfers who seriously practically count down the days until their 50th because it makes them eligible to play on the Champions Tour, the senior PGA Tour. Which I’ve heard is great because it’s lucrative and incredibly relaxed — most tournaments the players cruise around in carts! Given Daly’s prodigious length, he has a good shot at having a successful run playing with the oldies. Well, as long as he keeps his inner-wild man in check.
For not achieving anything that notable on the course in over a decade — besides more notoriety — he’s managed to transcend just golf and built a pretty loyal and large fan base. I mean, what kind of sports fan would you be if you didn’t know the name John Daly?? He’s had some pretty epic moments on and off the golf course that have been well-documented throughout his career. Let’s take a look back at a few.
*Throwin’ it back all the way to 1998 — one of Daly’s…ummmm…most famous accomplishments when he went Tin Cup at the Bay Hill Invitational. Daly hit six balls in the water with a 3-wood on the par-5 6th, before he finally reached the green with his seventh attempt. He carded an 18 on that hole and finished the round with an 85.
*Another Tin Cup moment! At the 2000 U.S. Open, he posted a 14 on the par-5 18th and WD’d after opening with an 83. He knocked three balls into the water and then hit another out of bounds.
*At the 2008 Australian Open, he broke a spectator’s camera at Royal Sydney.
*Always the consummate professional, Daly walked off the course during the first round of the 2011 Australian Open after hitting all his golf balls into the water.
*At last year’s PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, he posted a 10 on the par-3 7th and then tossed his club into Lake Michigan in a fit of rage.
*This is probably my favorite John Daly interview ever, as he goes on camera shirtless and shoeless on the golf course.
I’m not the biggest JD fan, but I can’t hate on him for simply not giving an eff (at least in certain scenarios).
Those are just a few examples of Daly’s antics on the golf course. I’m not even going to get started on his off-course activities, which include alcoholism, gambling debts, law suits, run-ins with the police, multiple tumultuous marriages, and the list goes on. But you know what, he’s still standing and doing his thang, and I give him credit for persevering through it all.
The PGA Tour-owned Skratch TV compiled scenes from Daly’s career as a birthday tribute.
— SkratchTV (@skratchTV) April 28, 2016
On that note, hope you have a wonderful day and I have no doubt you’re celebrating properly. Here’s to Budweiser, Diet Coke, Marlboros, and never laying up. Now, go throw back a John Daly (or 10) in his honor!