John Daly is undoubtedly one of the most colorful and unpredictable pro golfers of all time. Although h’s achieved some goals most pros only dream, Daly is just all well-known for his high-profile experiences with gambling and alcohol. According to Daly himself, he’s lost as much as $55 million as the result of his gambling addiction.
Yet these days, Daly has something positive in his life: the golfing success of his son, John Daly II, or “Little John” as he’s affectionately known. At 16 years old, Daly Jr. is making waves in the junior golf circuit. Let’s look at Daly Sr.’s career, personal life, and his son’s golfing prospects.
John Daly’s golf career
Daly Sr. went pro back in 1987, winning his first victory that same year at the Missouri Open. He joined the PGA Tour in 1991, as a relatively unknown contender. Nonetheless, Daly vaulted himself into the highest echelons of golfing celebrity that same year, when he won the 1991 PGA Championship. That victory was especially surprising, as Daly was the final alternate pick to compete.
That accomplishment earned Daly PGA Tour Rookie of the Year honors in 1991. He won the B.C. Open in 1992, and placed third at the Masters in 1993. In 1994, Daly was suspended by the PGA Tour after walking off-course in the middle of a round, and for a previous incident in which he had thrown a scorecard.
From there on out, Daly struggled mightily with consistency. At his best, he had one of the most powerful swings in the game. Yet his unconventional mechanics and erratic accuracy prevented him from ever settling into a real groove. That said, Daly bounced back to win the 2017 PGA Tour Champions.
Daly’s tumultuous personal life
Daly’s life off the course has been every bit as wild as his golfing career. His alcoholism brought him a lot of notoriety, with Daly once getting taking into custody by police outside of a Hooters restaurant. His gambling issues are well-chronicled, and his losses have cost him a small fortune.
Daly has also had a number of tumultuous marriages. He and his second wife, Bettye Fulford, had one daughter together before their relationship broke down in an ugly way. At the time, Daly was charged with assault for allegedly throwing Fulford against a wall, although she later chose not to follow through with the charges.
Daly remarried in 2001, and in 2003 he and his wife Sherrie Miller had a son, John Patrick Daly II, the aforementioned “Little John.” In 2007, Daly and Miller got into a screaming match at a restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee. Miller later pleaded guilty to drug charges and received a five-month prison sentence. At that time, Daly received full custody of his son.
Daly: the next generation
Daly Jr. clearly has a lot in common with his dad. Naturally the two look alike. They both also share a somewhat garish sense of style, favoring loud floral patterns. And just like his father, Daly Jr. is proving to be a capable young golfer himself. In fact, he was already commanding attention from college coaches in his sophomore year of high school.
Daly Jr. has also shown himself more than able to withstand the increased pressure of tournament play. Last September, he dominated the International Junior Golf Tour event in Kissimmee, Florida, easily winning the day by nine strokes, as Golf.com reports. That was no push-over competition, either. It featured some of the most competitive young golfers from around the world.
Like his father, Daly Jr. packs quite a wallop in his swing. If early returns are any indication of what’s to come, however, he might just have a bit more finesse to his game. Just as importantly, he also has a stellar work ethic. As his proud father gushed back in 2018, “He loves to practice a lot more than I did. He’s dedicated to it.” That character trait certainly bodes well for Daly Jr.’s future golf career.