John Daly, aka “Long John,” is an American professional golfer famous for his exceptional driving distance, one-of-a-kind attitude, and controversies on and off the golf course. He was born on April 28th, 1966 in Carmichael, California, and started playing golf as a child in Arkansas.
Early Life and Golf Career
Raised in a middle-class household, John had a successful teenage career, inspired by golfer Jack Nicklaus. Daly turned professional in 1987, winning his first tournament, the Missouri Open, that year. He won the Ben Hogan Utah Classic in 1990 and, in 1991, caused a frenzy in the golf community by winning his first PGA Championship as a serious underdog.
A solid season in 1992 followed, and in 1993 he placed third in the Masters Tournament. Unfortunately, in 1994, he was suspended for walking off the course mid-round, entering rehab for alcohol abuse.
In 1995, Daly won the Open Championship, but struggled with drinking and personal issues over the next five years, negatively affecting his golf performances. However, he won the BMW International Open in 2001, sparking a comeback, and won several more tournaments between 2001 and 2004, including the Buick Invitational, marking his return to glory.
Due to his non-exempt status, Daly had to rely on sponsorships and invitations to certain events. Despite earning millions during his career, his net worth is currently only $2 million.
In 2016, John became eligible to play on the PGA Tour Champions, where he has continued to compete as of 2020.
Relationships and Personal Issues
Daly has struggled with personal issues, including multiple divorces, substance abuse, and health problems. His first marriage was to Dale Crafton in 1987, ending in divorce three years later. He remarried in 1992 to Bettye Fulford, and they had one child together. In 1995, he divorced Fulford after throwing her into a wall, resulting in a third-degree assault charge which she did not pursue legally.
Daly then married Paulette Dean, and the couple had a child in 1995 before finalizing their divorce four years later. In 2001, he married his fourth wife, Sherrie Miller, and they had a child together in 2003.
In 2007, both spouses were involved in an altercation at a restaurant in Tennessee, with Miller attacking Daly with a steak knife. She pleaded guilty to drug charges and interfering with John’s visitation rights, while Daly gained custody of their child.
Business Ventures and Music
Daly has had several business ventures, including endorsing Loudmouth Golf clothing and signing a deal with Rock Bottom Golf. He also started a wine label called John Daly Wines, which eventually went out of business, and founded golf course design company JD Designs.
Daly has also been active in the music industry, releasing several albums and collaborating with singers such as Darius Rucker and Kid Rock.
Gambling Losses and Legal Issues
Daly has struggled with a gambling addiction, claiming to have lost over $55 million over his lifetime, with one incident involving a $1.5 million loss at a Las Vegas slot machine in 2005.
In 2005, Daly attempted to sue the “Florida Times-Union” for libel after a columnist referred to him as a “scoundrel,” but the case was thrown out in 2009. Daly paid the newspaper more than $300,000 in legal fees.
John Daly’s golf career has been marked by ups and downs, successes and struggles with addiction, health issues, and personal controversies. Despite his net worth of only $2 million, Daly’s unique attitude and exceptional driving distance have made him a memorable figure in the golf community.