John Daly has an almost freakish talent. It’s common to see aging golf greats hang on with young upstarts past retirement age. But few do it like Daly. He battled major health issues to win majors at even the age of 65. Daly’s immense ability seems to rocket him past even the limitations of his body.
Such a long-running career, taking on big prize pots for decades straight, adds up to a lot of earnings from golf alone. But for Daly, the story of his real net worth is more complex. Let’s look at the remarkable career and personal struggles of this compelling golf giant.
How John Daly made most of his money
Growing up, Daly was a star regional athlete in the ’80s. He played football and golf in high school. The University of Arkansas recruited him and got three years of rapidly improving play out of him before he went pro. He also showed signs of burgeoning alcohol abuse, resulting in missed classes and clashes with his coaches.
By 1991, he cemented himself as one of the top golfers on the planet. For most international fans, reports CBS Sports, he came seemingly out of nowhere to win that year’s PGA Championship. From then on, he became a favorite. He was regularly seen drinking before, after, and even during professional golf appearances.
In the early 2000s, he was back on the upswing once more. Sympathetic fans had high hopes that he’d return to form for the long run. He even won the PGA Comeback Player of the Year award in 2004. Unfortunately, it was a blip. His most difficult personal struggles were yet to come.
Daly’s vices cut around $55 million from his net worth
Daly always had issues with drinking and gambling. By 2005, it manifested in his physical health. He gained weight, exacerbating his knee issues. Living with constant pain, prescription drug use became constant. This could explain why, after returning to PGA-level form, he fell into compulsive behaviors.
Daly’s worst single day involved losing $1.65 million in just one 24-hour period of gambling losses. After squandering over half a million dollars, he took out a huge line of credit and took on more massive losses. Each small uptick in returns set him off into making big, unsafe bets all over again.
That one day was incomprehensibly bad for Daly. But it’s just the worst example of a long-term pattern. He estimates he lost about $55 million across 20 years of high-stakes gambling losses.
Daly’s estimated net worth today
Daly’s net worth is indicative of his difficult life. He won many major prizes, including five PGA Championships, reaping the benefits of massive prize pools. But his lifestyle choices, driven by his addiction issues, caused him to lose much of it.
Daly does have some endorsement revenue, as most pro golfers do. But he doesn’t have the same level of endorsements of other aging golfers, like Phil Mickelson, in part due to his bad-boy image. The Miller Lite swilling, cigarette smoking immense talent is a message that many top brands prefer not to associate with.
Still, the Dallas Cowboys and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 brand both found his rough-around-the-edges charm worth throwing money at. In the end, Daly’s losses weigh heavily on his current estimated net worth. Celebrity Net Worth pins it down at just $2 million, a shocking number given his fame and talent. Thankfully, those immense losses weren’t for naught.
Daly now puts immense effort into training and mentoring his son, John Jr. The young man already shows great signs of success, inheriting his father’s powerful swing. And, most importantly, he is far more dedicated to serious practice than his old man ever was.