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John Daly

Problems Eclipse Success

Though Daly landed about $10 million worth of endorsement deals, earned the PGA Tour's Rookie of the Year award for 1991, and won the B.C. Open a year later, his life was sliding down a slippery slope. He was disqualified from two international events over scorecard-signing procedures, and was charged with assaulting his second wife, Bettye, at a Christmas party (he pled the charge down to harassment) in Denver and entered his first rehab. While not drinking for a while, Daly admitted to heavy gambling, saying he was cross-addicted.

Commissioner Deane Beman suspended him for three months after he walked off the Kapalua International. He rebounded to win the BellSouth Classic the following year. But Reebok suspended his endorsement deal after he resumed heavy drinking. Gambling problems also mounted.

The final shining moment of Daly's career came in the 1995 British Open at storied St. Andrew's golf course. The wide fairways suited Daly's hard-driving game. Daly, a 66-1 long shot, won an 18-hole playoff against Constantino Rocca by four stokes, one day after Rocca had forced the playoff by making a 70-foot putt from the "Valley of Sin" on hole number 18. Daly's game and life, however, backslid again. St. Andrews was his last pro victory.

"When the downward spiral revived, all the old nightmares, plus a few new ones, came calling," Carter wrote. Daly threw clubs, withdrew prematurely from tournaments, battled depression and even suicide attempts, after he escaped from the Betty Ford Clinic in Rancho Mirage, California. He also amassed $2.6 million in gambling debts and lost the sponsorship of Calloway Golf, for whom he endorsed Big Bertha drivers. His third wife, Paulette, left him.

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