John Daly gets his fair share of bad press. Most recently his drinking has come to the lime light again. Nobody is naïve to the fact Daly had a drinking problem. Unfortunately due to being the character he is on the course, his life off the course has always been heavily documented, his successes unfortunately being overshadowed by his downfalls.
Daly joined the PGA tour in 1991 and quickly became one of the most intriguing figures on tour. He was known for his explosive personality, his rough and tumble personal life, and of course how far he hit the golf ball. ESPN have made a short film about Daly’s life as part of their ‘30 for 30’ series. The short documentary is aptly titled ‘Hit it Hard’ and will debut on November 1st. ESPN have been releasing small tasters to wet our appetite for this most anticipated short film.
The most recent clip shows a candid Daly admitting he drank during a PGA tour event. As much as this comes as no surprise to most people, we are hoping this short film is more about his triumphs than the addictive battle he faced during his career. Of course this is something that made John Daly who he was but there is way more to the colourful trouser wearing, long hitter.
Unfortunately, the good stories about John don’t generate the same amount of interest because everybody wants the gory details of his alcohol abuse, gambling and broken marriages. Deep down, party boy Daly has a heart of gold. In 1991 Daly punched his ticket into the PGA championship due to nine players withdrawing from the event, giving him the opportunity of a lifetime.
Before his win at the PGA championship he had missed 11 cuts in 23 starts. He was a complete unknown when he tee’d it up in the first round but that was all about to change. Daly’s long hitting was second to none that week and he holed everything. His week at Crooked Stick was a Cinderella story that everyone embraced and followed until the very end when he was the man holding the trophy.
Earlier that week a storm had wreaked havoc at Crooked Stick and had unfortunately taken the life of one of the volunteers, when he was struck by lightning. The volunteer left two young girls and a wife. When John was presented the Wannamaker trophy he said he was going to give $30,000 to a scholarship fund for the two young girls that had lost their father that week.
ESPN will not have struggled for material when creating this documentary. He was an instant sensation after his PGA championship win. Everybody bought into his humble beginnings in Arkansas and his fiery attitude on and off the course. He was followed for his extraordinary length off the tee and mostly known for his gambling and his 4 failed marriages. John also went on to win a second major at The Open in 1995.
Just like every other golf fan we cannot wait to see this heavily anticipated ’30 for 30’ about the golfing hero, John Daly.
By Rachael McQueen, Community Engagement Executive at Shot Scope