Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Irish Open Player Profiles: John Daly

John Daly
John Daly

Big Hearted John Daly, nicknamed ‘Long John’ for his prodigious drives, threatens to massacre the sacred turf that is Royal Portrush.

If the wind doesn’t blow and the weather is set fair, then beware golf’s most controversial figure at The Irish Open.

Eleven times Daly has been crowned the PGA of America’s longest driver of a golf ball so he could quite easily run amok among the sand dunes on the North Coast.

And even if the elements are against him you can take it for granted the colourful Daly will make the headlines.

Daly has won two major titles – The PGA Championship in 1991 and The Open after a play-off four years later – but there is no doubt a player with his gifts should have done much better.

Problem with Daly was his habits or addictions.

He famously once said: “I learned you cannot drink whiskey and play golf.”

And on another occasion as he explained his faults he quipped: “Everyone has addictions and my problem is I have 5000 of them.

“If it’s not drinking, it’s gambling, if it’s not gambling it’s eating anything from burgers, doughnuts to M&Ms.”

Sadly it has been claimed that Daly squandered between 50 and 60 million dollars on gambling.

That aside he has still managed to survive in the highly competitive golf game and since turning pro in 1987 has featured in more than 470 events.

And if he’s in good form away from the course don’t be surprised to hear him play the guitar and sing country and western songs.

He loves music and can claim to have released an album entitled ‘My Life’ with the likes of Willie Nelson, Darius Rucker and Johnny Lee.

Daly is unique with a technique all his own. The legend that is Jack Nicklaus when asked to describe the big man said: “My goodness what a coil, what an unleashing of power.

“I don’t know who he reminds me of because I haven’t seen anybody whop hits the ball that far.”

Controversial he may be but Daly has a big heart to go with his big hitting and supports charities like Make a Wish and Boys and Girls Club of America.

In 2002 and 2003 he donated a whopping 25,000 dollars to the Nationwide Tour’s Mark Christopher Charity Classic.

That’s John Daly for you.

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