There are stories of how he lost 60 pounds in college by drinking a fifth of whiskey and smoking three packs of cigarettes a day. One of the longest chapters is devoted to sexual exploits with his four wives and a woman he calls 'Almost Ex No. 4.' In a harrowing account, he writes about the time his father put a gun to Daly's head in a drunken rage.
Exclusive Video: Daly talks to The Golf Channel about his book and his vices
But all anyone really needs to know about Daly is this -- he named his second daughter after a rehab center.
Clearly, this isn't the stock variety of PGA Tour player autobiographies.
'John Daly: My Life In and Out of the Rough' will be in bookstores Monday, and no one will mistake it for Ben Hogan's book on the fundamentals of modern golf.
'It's the truth. I'm not going to sidestep anything,' Daly said Tuesday. 'It brings back memories of stupid stuff I've done in my life, and good stuff. It was honest.'
And it is sure to enhance his grip-and-rip-it reputation.
-- He got disqualified from a junior event in Atlanta when officials found a bottle of whiskey in his bag.
-- Forced to lose 60 pounds at Arkansas if he wanted to play on his college team, he once went three days without hardly any food, drinking four bottles of whiskey until he passed out in his room and had to be taken to the emergency room.
'But you know what? My cigarettes-popcorn-whiskey diet worked,' Daly wrote. 'The pounds just peeled right off. By Christmas, I'd lost 65 pounds. I probably ought to have written a diet book or something.'
-- He said he has lost between $50 million and $60 million during 12 years of heavy gambling, and owed $4 million to casinos until he won the 1995 British Open, which enabled him to pay off the debt. Daly says Callaway Golf took care of a $1.7 million gambling debt when he signed an endorsement deal in 1997, after his second stint in alcohol rehab.
The second trip to rehab was the Betty Ford Center. For those wondering, Daly's next child was a boy.
No doubt, the book is causing great consternation at PGA Tour headquarters, where commissioner Tim Finchem rarely misses the chance to talk to players about upholding their clean image. Finchem called Daly on Monday to discuss the book. Daly called their conversation 'positive,' whatever that means.
'It's tough to match what the tour wants with what the publisher wants,' Daly said.
Finchem said Monday that nothing in the book violates PGA Tour regulations. The only violation in question falls under 'conduct unbecoming a professional,' although such conduct isn't spelled out in the players' handbook.
Even if it were, Daly has an answer for that, too.
'My life is unbecoming of a professional,' he said. 'It's hard to state it in anybody else's words.'
Daly's lifestyle borders on depravity. His actions lie somewhere between irrational and irresponsible.
He has trashed hotel rooms in South Africa and Florida, and stood in the kitchen of his Colorado home breaking everything he could touch. Given handsome appearance fees to play around the world, he has rewarded tournaments by tanking rounds or getting disqualified. It is rare to see him without his gut hanging over his belt and a cigarette dangling from his lips.
Yet he remains one of the more popular figures in golf. Perhaps people relate so well to Daly because everyone has flaws, and everyone knows about his. In an era when celebrities deny anything that might be remotely disparaging, Daly hides nothing.
Will the book cost him any fans?
'I hope not,' Daly said. 'I might gain some.'
The book is sure to put him in demand, and perhaps he can use the money to support his gambling habit. Daly says he lost $1.65 million in five hours -- mostly on a $5,000 slot machine -- after losing in a playoff against Tiger Woods at a World Golf Championship last year in San Francisco.
He said Tuesday it was an innocent mistake. He had never seen a $5,000 slot machine.
'Twenty pulls is $100,000,' he explained.
Clearly, there's more to Daly than a few drinks, a few smokes, a few wives and more than a few tugs on the slot machine.
He gave $30,000 to the family of a man killed by lightning at Crooked Stick in 1991 after he won the PGA Championship -- as a rookie, when $30,000 meant something to him. Daly met the victim's daughters last year. Both had graduated from college because of his gift.
He raises $60,000 a year for the Boys & Girls Clubs in Arkansas, and the John Daly Make-A-Wish Foundation Tournament has raised $5 million over the last 12 years.
And there are times when Daly knows his priorities.
He wrote about winning the British Open at St. Andrews and facing a dilemma. Wilson and Reebok, his corporate sponsors, were on the phone with agent Bud Martin, desperate for Daly to get out to the Swilcan Bridge for a promotional picture. The sun was setting, so there was no time to spare.
But hold on -- the president was on the phone and wanted to talk to Daly.
'My first thought was ... the president of the United States wants to talk to me,' Daly wrote. 'But then Bud pointed out that Wilson and Reebok were putting $4 million a year in my pocket, and all Clinton was doing was taking 40 percent away.'
He went to the bridge.
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