Relapse and Recovery: The John Daly Story

Friends of Bill say it’s one day at a time. Jimmy K’s followers live life just for today. John Daly gets it. The journey of recovery may be a rising slope for some. John’s life has been a roller-coaster ride. He has risen to the top of his profession many times, only to be derailed by a disease that speaks to him in his own voice.

In 1991, young John Daly won the PGA Championship at Crooked Stick in Indiana. He wasn’t even supposed to play. At twenty-five, he was still a rookie and only got a spot because Nick Price had withdrawn. John was the ninth alternate sitting home in Memphis when the call came in. Hours later, America met “Grip It and Rip It.”

John had a couple of good years after his PGA win, including a victory at the B.C. Open and a third-place finish at the Masters in 1993. A year later, he was in rehab and suspended from the tour. He come through it clean, winning the Bell South Classic in 1994, then the British Open, his second and final major, in 1995.  

Daly’s only other PGA Tour victory came in 2004 at the Buick Invitational. His years in between, and since, have been filled with the ups and downs that so often plague addicts and alcoholics. He’s been married four times, taken into police custody, and been through multiple rehabs to deal with his alcoholism and gambling addictions.  

Throughout all of this, John has raised a son on his own (John Jr.) and opened golf courses in the United States, Canada, and County Cork, Ireland. He regularly does charity work for the Make a Wish Foundation and the Boys and Girls Clubs. After the Masters this year, you’ll see him playing in the Celebrity Pro Am.  

Every Clean Day is a Successful Day

Addiction is a daily struggle, a disease with no cure. Here at October Golf Magazine, we support those who have surrendered to this disease and have used the twelve steps to overcome adversity and live normal lives. Unfortunately, some of our friends and loved ones, too numerous to count, have lost that battle.  

Just for today, on Labor Day Weekend 2020, a year when isolation and despair have taken far more lives than any virus could, we’d like to recognize John Daly for his efforts. According to recent reports, he’s sober today. In the circles we run in, that’s a victory. He won’t get a trophy or a check for it. The rewards are spiritual in nature. Pray for him. Alone he can’t. Together we can.

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