There aren’t many golfers that have more fun on a course than the legendary John Daly. The same could be said for off the golf course as well. Few players in any sport are as universally beloved as Daly despite his frequent antics, which often make him a controversial figure. The beer chuggin’, cigarette smokin’, eclectic outfit-wearing, 2-time major champion is in a class of his own on the PGA Tour when it comes to his persona on and off the course.
John Daly has given PGA fans some of the greatest moments in the sport. Additionally, he’s given us some hilariously iconic moments that only he could provide. On April 28, 2021, “Long John” himself is turning 55 years old. We may not be able to cheers Daly with a cold beer like he’d prefer, but instead, let’s celebrate Daly’s birthday by revisiting some of his iconic career’s most entertaining moments.
John Daly Bursts Onto the Scene at 1991 PGA Championship
In 1991, John Daly earned his way onto the PGA Tour after four years as a professional golfer. He left the University of Arkansas early without graduating when he turned pro in 1987. The move obviously worked out for the famous golfer.
Months after joining the tour, Daly received a bit of a lucky boost in August 1991. Golfer Nick Price dropped out of the PGA Championship at Crooked Stick to be with his pregnant wife who was close to giving birth. Therefore Daly – the ninth and final alternate for the tournament – was the last man welcomed to the major. He took full advantage of his opportunity.
Coming in as the last alternate in a major tournament, there was no larger underdog on the course. In fact, he had to drive through the night to even make it to Crooked Stick near Indianapolis, Indiana. The 25-year-old didn’t even have a chance to practice, but still shot an inexplicable first-round 69.
Daly went on to do the unthinkable. The unknown rookie with a powerful swing rose to international fame when he won the PGA Championship by three strokes. A golf hero was born, and so was his cult-like fanbase.
The Golfer Admits to Drinking Mid-Round on One Occasion
Back in 2016, ESPN released a documentary on John Daly as part of their fantastic “30 for 30” series. It covered everything from the golfer’s numerous marriages, to his on-course meltdowns, and of course, included a myriad of drinking tales.
During a teaser clip of the documentary, Daly acknowledged he often played tournaments while hungover. In some cases, he was still partially drunk from being out until the wee hours of the morning. However, he never drank during a tournament… well, except for one time years ago in the L.A. Open.
“It was so slow and I played the back nine first. I think I’m two or three over. I went in the locker room and downed like five beers, and I think I shot four under on the front nine. That is the only time I know I drank during a round, and I played great. I played great that week. I finished strong,” John Daly said with a laugh.
Long John Wins 2nd and Last Major of His Career
In 1995, four years after his first major victory, John Daly reached the pinnacle of the game for the second time. Once again, Daly was far from the favorite to win the Open Championship at Scotland’s St. Andrews Links. The hallowed grounds of golf, known as “The Home of Golf,” is the oldest course golf course in the world dating back to the 15th century.
“The Old Course” is set up perfectly for Daly’s strength and long-distance shots. The course is wide open with few obstacles in your way. Since Daly could grip it and rip it with the best of them, he played consistently great golf all weekend.
Even though Costantino Rocca came back to force a playoff on Sunday, it was all Daly in extra holes. He pulled away to win by four strokes. His second major championship in four years was also his fourth win on the PGA Tour. It would be his last for almost another decade.
Hitting Golf Balls Out of a CEO’s Mouth
Forever the showman, John Daly has a penchant for making sure everyone around him on a golf course is having as much fun as he is. It wasn’t the first time he’d shown off by hitting a golf ball from a tee in someone’s mouth. But it likely was the first time hitting from the mouth of a CEO.
In 2017, Long John was pulling out some of his old golf stunts. Loudmouth, which makes Daly’s signature “loud” golf clothing, is one of his sponsors. During one PGA event, the company’s CEO Larry Jackson was in attendance. Jackson chose to assist Daly with his golf course antics that day. Bold move to say the least on Jackson’s part.
Jackson put his face on the line when he allowed Daly to essentially take a swing at it. The CEO laid down on the ground, inserted a golf tee in his mouth, and placed a ball on the tee. John Daly stepped up with a cigarette between his lips and didn’t hesitate. The golfer boomed one of his monster drives off Jackson without leaving a scratch.
John Daly Throws Club Into Lake Michigan During Epic 2015 Meltdown
We’ve already mentioned some of John Daly’s meltdowns, but his 7th hole debacle at Whistling Straights in 2015 is one for the ages. The golfer stayed even through the first six holes before approaching the 221-yard Hole No. 7. The short Par 3 runs along the shoreline of Lake Michigan with the tee box and green making up most of the course. Everything to the right of the hole is water.
Things didn’t exactly go to plan for Daly. He proceeded to put three shots in a row into Lake Michigan and took three putts to finish the miserable 10-stroke hole. However, before he even got to the green, a visibly frustrated Daly decided to reunite his club with the three balls he lost in the water. The golfer sent his club flying into Lake Michigan out of anger, which made for an amusing scene.
“Oh, and there goes the club in the water. So, John Daly after sending a few balls in the water has now sent his club into Lake Michigan,” the tournament announcer hilariously said during the event.
There’s countless highlights and lowlights of John Daly’s one-of-a-kind career. But there’s a handful here that show just how talented he is while also sharing some of his ups and downs. You can’t mention one without the other when it comes to Long John. Hopefully, Daly is on a golf course enjoying life today while celebrating his 55th birthday with a cold one in hand. If we were betting on it, we’d say he’s living it up and doing exactly that.