Now eligible for the Senior Tours, of which he’s making his Senior Open debut at Carnoustie in July, the two-time major winner has been involved in his fair share of troubles over the years – and here are just a selection of them, some of which have got the ‘Wild Thing’ in extremely hot water with the golfing authorities.
In 2008, Daly was held overnight in jail after passing out at a Hooters restaurant. According to police, Daly “appeared extremely intoxicated and uncooperative.” Because Daly had no transportation, police held him in custody until he sobered up. He wasn’t charged.
Also in 2008, the American was interviewed while he played a round of golf at Murder Rock Golf Club in Branson, Missouri. Shirtless and shoeless, and with a cigarette in his mouth, of course. Classic Big John.
The legendary golf coach got rid of Daly in 2008, saying: “The most important thing in his life is getting drunk.” Daly responded by saying Harmon’s lies ‘destroyed my life for a little bit’.
During the first round in 2011, Daly put six or seven balls in the water at the tenth before telling his playing partners: “I’m off.” He grabbed his son and left. Tournament director Trevor Herden said Daly would never be welcome again.
At the 2011 Austrian Open, he threw a childish temper and withdrew after being assessed a two-stroke penalty for an illegal drop. This came after he threw his wedge in the water on the same hole after a poor tee shot!
In 1994, Daly was fined £13,000 and banned for the rest of the season following a scuffle with the father of PGA Tour player Jeff Roth, who was playing in the group ahead. Roth’s father was upset because Daly had twice hit into his son’s group. The pair were separated by the crowd.
Playing in a pro-am with friend Kid Rock in 2008, he smashed his tee shot off a can of Budweiser, much to the delight of onlookers.
In 2005, Daly was edged out by Tiger Woods in the WGC-American Express Championship. He pocketed $750,000, went straight to Las Vegas and blew $1.65m, including $600,000 in the first 30 minutes.
He revealed this in an interview with Yahoo in 2014. He thought it was initially around $20-$25m, but after going through his tax records for his 2006 autobiography, he estimated losses to be between $55-$57m.
At the 2015 US PGA Championship, Daly dunked three balls in the water at the seventh hole before launching his club into Lake Michigan. A kid on a boat swiftly rushed in to collect it.
In May last year, it was revealed his ex-wife Sherrie Miller – his fourth – was suing his current girlfriend Anna Cladakis. The reason: Miller claimed Cladakis – Daly’s caddie – was also his mistress, causing her ‘alienation of affection and intentional infliction of emotional distress’.
In 1999, Daly hit his ball as it was rolling back to him on the eighth green, resulting in a two-stroke penalty. He carded an 11 en route to a 13-over 83. He left the course in a huff, claiming he’d taken the penalty on purpose as a protest against the USGA for tough pin positions.
As you do. In the middle of car park in Nashville, too.
After once making a ten on the par-5 sixth hole, he went eight ‘better’ in 1998, going from two-under-par to 11-over-par for the tournament. “Hey, I’m out here to break records,” he told playing partner Paul Goydos.
In 2003, he reportedly trashed his $1.4m recreational bus after being disqualified at San Antonio for stroking home a missed putt while it was still moving.
Daly exploded at the 2008 Australian Open when fan Brad Clegg took a photo of him as he was about to take a shot out of the rough. He took the camera and hurled it baseball-style at a tree, damaging it beyond use.
Up until last year, Daly was still pursuing legal action for an incident at the 2007 Honda Classic. A female spectator jumped in front of him to take his picture. He said he tried to stop his swing, hit behind the ball, and fractured two ribs and separated his right shoulder, negatively impacting on his career.
Daly sparked outrage among the PGA Tour community for this remark in 1994, where he also said that if drug testing was done properly on tour, he’d be one of the cleanest guys out there.
Twenty-one years on in 2015, he was still outspoken on the subject. On a radio show, he said: “It’s the biggest bulls***, I’m sorry, I’m gonna say it, fine me. I don’t care what you do, fix ‘em right now, fine me, but I’m tired of it. It’s not random; it’s big a joke. This whole drug testing is a joke.”
In 2005, Daly sued the Florida Times-Union for libel after a columnist claimed he ‘failed the scoundrel sniff test’. A judge threw out the case in 2009, saying Daly had failed to prove the basis of the claim: namely, the statements were untrue. He also had to pay $300,000 in legal fees.
Earlier this year, it emerged the Claret Jug from his 1995 Open win had gone up for auction – but it was without his say-so. The lot was then removed by Green Jacket Auctions, who said: “We have reached an agreement with John Daly‘s management to withdraw this trophy.”
Amid the controversy, this one story showed a totally different side to the American. During his 1991 triumph at the US PGA – where he won after starting as ninth reserve – Daly dedicated $30,000 of his $230,000 winnings to the family of Tom Weaver, who died after being struck by lightning at the event.
What are your thoughts on the career and life of John Daly? Is he someone that the game should be thankful for? Or is he just plain trouble? Leave your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below.