John Daly's Recipe For Success

<b>Morley Safer</b> Profiles Colorful Pro Golfer

This segment originally aired May 7, 2006. It was updated on June 15, 2007.

The turbulent saga of professional golfer John Daly sounds a bit like a soap opera. You just can't make this stuff up: twice suspended by the PGA Tour, three trips to rehab, four kids, millions won on the course, millions lost in gambling joints, four marriages before the age of 35, current wife in prison, drunken binges and sexual adventures.

And yet, as Morley Safer reports, he is considered one of the most gifted of players. Not for nothing is he known as "Long John Daly."



John Daly is considered one of the most powerful hitters in the game of golf. That grip-it-and-rip-it style defines Daly and attracts a huge gallery of fans, hoping for a little magic.

Working class, chain smoking, overweight, and about as undisciplined as a professional athlete can be, Daly admits he has never taken training and staying in shape seriously.

"I hate it, to be honest with you," Daly tells Safer. "I can't stand to work out, I can't stand to do a sit up, you know, I can't stand to run."

And his diet? "It's not great," Daly admits.

He lives on a menu of fast food, soda and beer, and lives life by his own rules, which may mean no rules at all. That unrepentant attitude endears him all the more to his fans, who follow his every move, whether he's winning — or flaming out.

Daly admits that his career has had ups and downs. "No doubt. It's all or nothing," he says.

While he is not way up on the money list, on the course he gets a gallery as big as Tiger Woods and some other top stars. What's the attraction?

"I think people relate to me because of the ups and downs I have had. I mean, I've shared a lot of strong emotions in my life, that I think maybe 'cause they believe, I'm not scared to tell everybody I'm a human being," he explains.

He's about as human as one can get — often playing brilliant golf … and just as often on the edge of self-destruction.

Daly's wild ride began in 1991. He was a nobody from nowhere when, at age 25, he drove all night to fill the last vacant spot in field for the PGA Championship. He then turned golf on its ear by winning.

Daly thinks the effect of winning that tournament so young was positive but says a lot of negatives came with the win. "I didn't know how to react to it. You know, I never saw so much money in my life come so fast," he explains.

He was golf's next big thing — fans, reporters, sponsors and women all wanted a piece of him. But his volatile behavior soon began to get him more attention than his game, including a well-documented battle with alcoholism, fights, and some highly public meltdowns.

"I was a basket case, you know?" says Daly. "When I got mad, I threw clubs, you know? And if things weren't going well, I would walk off a course. I think I lost a little bit of respect, but hopefully I've gained that back."

"You let your personal demons run most of your life," Safer remarked.

"Everybody fights demons. Some are worse than others," Daly replied. "But I've conquered the Jack Daniels; that was the biggest one."

He admits it was bad for him. "Horrible. Me and Jack Daniels were best friends but, boy, too much of it. We just didn't get along."

His "friend" Jack Daniels eventually cost him his second marriage and triggered some major problems with the PGA. So Daly checked himself into rehab, got sober, and stunned the golf world all over again by winning his second major, the 1995 British Open.

  • Daniel Schorn

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