“I don’t think I’ve ever stepped in the gym – they won’t let me smoke there.”
It’s quotes like those that make it easy to see why John Daly achieved cult status in the world of golf.
Golf can often come across as snooty, elitist sport, so when characters like the blonde bomber smashed down the perceptions it is inevitable that notoriety will follow.
From chain-smoking on fairways, guzzling beers and eccentric outfits, there’s plenty of reasons to love the two-time major winner.
The fact he even won a major in the first place defied the odds hugely, as he burst onto the scene in 1991 to win the PGA Championship.
He followed that up by claiming an incredible win at the historic St Andrews in 1995 Open Championship and is back in Scotland this week to try and clinch another in the 150th edition of golf’s most famous tournament.
Daly was known for his ferocious power and became the first PGA tour player to average more than 300 yards off the tee.
British audiences got to see him up close and personal when he won the 1995 Open, beating Constantino Rocca in a play-off.
Winning two-majors put him on the same footing as the likes of Greg Norman and Sandy Lyle, but his later career was dogged by wild inconsistency. Amateur golfers out there will know his pain.
He once hit six golf balls into the water at the 1998 Bay Hill Invitational in a final round meltdown.
Daly was, and still remains, a larger than life figure, who has certainly enjoyed himself over the years and that has caught up with him several times.
His coach Butch Harmon quit in 2008 after saying ‘the most important thing in (Daly’s) life is getting drunk’ and he was once arrested outside a Hooters for being intoxicated.
The 56-year-old has previously opened up on his struggles with alcohol being down to his abusive father.
His weight has always been a constant problem and he even underwent gastric band surgery in 2009 in a bid to control the problem.
He once said: “This fitness thing is blown out of proportion. What am I going to do on a treadmill – smoke a cigarette and drink a diet Coke?”
You can also add gambling to one of his many vices. It is estimated that he lost around $50million (£40m) to $60million (£48m) over the years, once losing $1.5million (£1.2m) in a single month.
Daly has always been seen as an outsider in the golf world and he embraces that status. One of his many hilarious traditions includes selling merchandise at the Hooters restaurant outside The Masters in Augusta every year since 1997.
The Wild Thing was in the field once again for the 2022 PGA Championship as a previous winner and drew a big crowd.
The tournament was held back at Southern Hills, where Tiger Woods won in 2007, and Woods dropped a brilliant story in the build-up that summed Daly up.
“It was obviously a very different golf course. It was not cold that week,” Woods said.
“I remember playing behind JD [John Daly] the first day, which was awesome.
“It was, what, 109 [degrees] I think that first day? And I asked JD how many waters he drank out there, he said, ‘No, I had 13 Diet Cokes.’”
Daly’s days as a serious contender on the PGA Tour are long over, but watch out for his son, John Daly II, who is a chip off the old block.
Hear live coverage of The Open on talkSPORT 2 from Thursday and catch regular updates from Bob, Rupert and Sean O’Brien on talkSPORT
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- John Daly is the chain-smoking two-time golf major winner who gambled away $60MILLION and left Tiger Woods shocked with his Diet Coke habit
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