The PGA Championship starts tomorrow, and I’m reminded that it’s 30 years since John Daly got the call the night before the 1991 PGA Championship was set to begin, letting him know that he’d made it into the tournament as the 9th alternate after a number of other players had withdrawn.
JD, who doesn’t fly, drove all the way to Indiana, arriving at the tournament site at midnight on Wednesday. Without the benefit of a single practice round at Crooked Stick, he went on to shoot -12 for the championship, besting the field by 3 strokes and securing his first major championship victory.
I had the opportunity to spend a few hours over dinner with John and his family a few years ago, and I’m not sure there’s ever been a more colorful or more authentic character on the PGA Tour. Yes, he’s every bit the opposite of country club elite that he appears in interviews and on the golf course. But he’s a really good guy.
Just this week, ESPN ran a story about JD and an incredible act of generosity the very same week he won the PGA in 1991 ... a gift he made to a family he didn't know in the wake of a terrible tragedy, for which he never sought any publicity. It's well worth a read.
Having spent a little bit of time with JD, I can say that he tells the craziest stories, but you know they're all true. He’s absolutely genuine, and whether or not you're a fan, it's hard to argue that he has a big heart.
Here's hoping JD has a great week at this week's PGA Championship.