As anticipation builds for the debut on the PGA Tour Champions of two-time major winner John Daly, one cannot help but remember that he also made news for wrong reasons as well. Looking at his record may paint a picture in sporting terms of a success story, but his triumphs seemed to pick up baggage along the way.
His biggest wins will undoubtedly be the 1991 PGA Championship and 1995 Open Championship, yet Daly seemed to gain a following through means outside of winning golf tournaments. ‘Long John’ was known to enjoy the finer things in life, in his instance alcohol and gambling were front and centre. With the bank balance increasing steadily, one might forgive Daly for having a bit of fun with his winnings at the various casinos he stopped at. However, as the promise of the player he was began to fade (only 2 notable tour wins in the decade after his Open Championship triumph) more and more of his off-the-course antics became noticeable and the extraordinary events on the course became headlines for the wrong reasons.
When a golfer has a bad hole in a round and posts a high score it could make headlines, when he does it three times, questions may start to be asked of the golfer’s mental state. Daly was such a case, posting double digits on single holes on no less than three occasions. What is worse for Daly was the fact that all three happened at high-profile events, none more so than the 14 he posted at the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links. With instances of Daly walking off courses and pulling out of tournaments for erratic reasons, and his antics off the course, it is no wonder that he has been labelled ‘Wild Thing’.
Now that he is 50 and can start fresh on a new tour, one may see a new side of John Daly that fulfills the potential he showed in winning his two majors all those years ago. Whether he decides to change or remains the way most golf watchers know him, he is sure to liven up a tour that is somewhat drab at times.