Has John Daly ever won the British Open?
John Daly will be teeing it up at the 2022 British Open at St. Andrews for the 24th time since his debut in 1992 at golf’s oldest major tournament.
One of the crowd’s favorite golfers will “grip it and rip it” Thursday at the 150th British Open at St. Andrews in Scotland. Although Tiger Woods will be there too, when we say crowd favorite, we’re talking about the unmistakable John Daly. Both golfers coincided at the course earlier in the week while preparing for what will be a challenging test for the two veteran golfers.
Follow the final day of the 150th Open Championship live from St Andrews
1995 British Open
Daly surprised the world of golf with his victory in 1995 at St. Andrews when he beat Costantino Rocca in a playoff to win his second major. His big swing, long drives and delicate touch around the greens captivated audiences and made him a household name. He became a hero to many amateur golfers who identified with his nonchalant demeanor while playing and his crazy antics off the course.
The 1995 British Open assembled several previous winners that Daly had to beat to take home the Claret Jug. He overcame the likes of Seve Ballesteros, Tom Watson, Nick Faldo and Jack Nicklaus. The tournament came down to the 72nd hole when Costantino Rocca hit an excellent drive to the front of the 18th green. The Italian needed a birdie to tie, but misplayed his chip shot while Daly was in the clubhouse with a -6 total score for the tournament lead. Rocca managed to make a 65-foot putt on 18 to force a playoff, which was decided on four previously selected holes: 1, 2, 17 and 18. Daly won the playoff easily with a 4-stroke advantage after dominating the four extra holes.
On course success and off course trouble
At times Daly’s off-course shenanigans got in the way of his performance on the course. Between his first major in 1992 when, at the age of 25, he won the PGA Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Indiana and his win at the home of golf in 1995 in Scotland, he had been disqualified three times in 1993 and 1994 for inappropriate behavior during a stretch that saw him enter alcohol rehab and then go on to win the 1994 BellSouth Classic, a victory he claimed that was his first win while playing sober.
Between 1996 and 2000 Daly struggled with his alcoholism and was forced to withdraw from several tournaments due to his addiction and poor physical condition. By 2000 he had already been married and divorced three times and his fourth marriage ended in 2007 after his wife attacked him with a steak knife at a restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee.
Daly’s son John II was born in 2003. Father and son have played tournaments together and currently “Little John” plays golf at the University of Arkansas. He and his father signed a sponsorship agreement with Hooters restaurants in April 2022, which is a franchise Daly Sr. has frequented quite often over the years. The NIL (Name, Image and Likeness) agreement Daly’s son signed will allow “Little John” to receive money while playing for his father’s Alma Mater, according to the new NCAA rules for student athletes.
Daly has used his popularity to launch several businesses, including a partnership with the Loudmouth Golf line of clothing, and an endorsement deal with the discount golf retailer Rock Bottom Golf. His venture into the wine industry wasn’t successful, but he currently manages a company which designs golf courses (JD Designs). He has been credited with helping design the courses listed below.
Overcoming cancer, addiction and turning 50
The stories about “JD” are endless and most of them are related to his problems with alcohol, smoking, women and gambling. He has admitted to losing nearly $100 million in gambling (and winning half of that). He has been very open about his gambling addiction and debts he has accumulated on bets and in casinos. “Blackjack, slots. Most I ever got on markers at a casino was $500,000. That was mid-’90s, when a lot of bad stuff was happening,” he said in an interview in 2008 with Golf Digest. “I needed that Wilson contract to help pay my debt off, but Wilson dropped me in ‘97, right after that Jacksonville thing [a drinking spree the week of the Players Championship]. That was a $30 million deal.”
Despite his problems with alcohol and his smoking habit, which started in college, he has made it to 56, a feat that golf legend Fuzzy Zoeller didn’t think would happen. At age 42 Daly’s tobacco regime was pretty intense, “Marlboro mediums, 2 to 2½ packs a day, depending on how long it takes to play a round of golf. That’s a problem on tour now, the pace of play. But, either way, I smoke too much,” he told Golf Digest.
But those issues are why people love Daly, because he’s not perfect, he’s relatable to the common weekend golfer. Despite his ups and downs, he’s competing at the 150th British Open at St. Andrews; golf’s greatest tournament at golf’s oldest course. The home of golf is as traditional as you can get, but “JD” is just a normal guy who knows how to swing a club and make an entrance like a rock star.