John Daly turns 50, reckons he’s owed $150K in the process, and will play his first Champions Tour event

John Daly 595

THE US Champions Tour is about to get a whole lot more colourful with the irrepressible John Daly confounding many pundits by actually making it to 50.

Reaching the milestone this week, Daly bragged fellow golfer Fuzzy Zoeller once bet him $150,000 it would never happen.

“Fuzzy’s going to owe me 150 grand,’’ Daly told US media. “I don’t know if he remembers that bet or not, but I’ll get that cash from him hopefully.’’

Daly reckons the bet was made years ago at the Masters.

“I think it was Tuesday morning and we played nine holes and went to T-Bonz (restaurant) and had some lunch,’’ Daly said. “Next thing I know, we were in the same clothes playing Wednesday at 7:30 in the morning and the par-3 tournament. We stayed through the whole nine (holes), drinking, having a good time and eating.

“Fuzzy said, ‘I got 150 grand you’re never going to make it to 50.’”

But the brand new Champions Tour rookie isn’t too sure he’ll actually collect.

“I’ll just have him give me a free bottle of his vodka,” Daly said. “That’s about it.”

Daly, with two golf majors (1991 US PGA Championship & 1995 British Open) and five PGA TOUR wins, has had what might be called a colourful career.

The heavy drinking and gambling hasn‘t been too good to him financially (or probably health wise, particularly when you include the ubiquitous cigarette hanging from the lips) and he hasn’t always managed to keep the temper and golfing frustrations under control on the course.

He’s always been precociously talented though, bursting into the headlines in 1991 in his first year on the PGA TOUR when he was ninth alternate for the US PGA Championship at the Crooked Stick Golf Club and ended up winning. He was subsequently named Rookie of the Year.

Daly has also had his moments on Australian golf courses, famously given a suspended fine when he broke a spectator’s camera during the 2008 Australian Open at Royal Sydney and then walking off during the first round of the 2011 Open at the Lakes after he hit seven balls into the lake on the 11th.

Daly will be a rookie once more when he plays the Insperity Invitational next week (May 6 – 8) at The Woodlands in Texas.

His long time sponsor and the people responsible for the “Wild Thing’s” wild and colourful golf clothing, Loudmouth Golf, are also sponsoring the event.

They are having a special “Loudmouth Day” on the Friday encouraging spectators, staff and volunteers to wear their favourite Loudmouth designs.

Daly was looking forward to the new adventure, and maybe even having a word to Fuzzy Zoeller about that bet.

“It’s a new chapter,” Daly said this week. “It’s going to be kind of a year of testing the waters.

“I’m looking forward to it and seeing some of my old buddies out there. Fuzzy (Zoeller) and Hubert Green were my favorites. Ben Crenshaw, Craig Stadler. Tom Watson always took me under his wing.

“It’s great that I’m going to be able to come out and play golf with them again.”

The big-hitting Daly hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since the 2004 Buick Invitational and has relied mainly on sponsor’s invites in recent years to play tournament golf. He also admits his form is a little rusty.

“It’s not good,” he said. “I’m working on everything. My driving is really, really good. It’s just that my putting really isn’t where I want it to be. My wedges aren’t really dialled in right now.

“This has been a crazy seven years, just not being able to play as much as I want to, not being able to get into many tournaments. So I’m going to have really work my butt off to get it back.”


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