Daly Won '91 PGA As Tour Rookie
Aug. 8-11, 1991 -- Fifteen hours before the start of the PGA Championship, tour rookie John Daly learned he had climbed from ninth alternate for the event to first. He immediately drove from Memphis to the Crooked Stick course outside Indianapolis and found that he was in the field, that he had replaced Nick Price, who was waiting the birth of his first child.
Daly, who had no time for practice and had never seen the course, shot a three-under-par 69 in the first round. Belting drives well over 300 yards -- he was first on the tour in driving distance and 185th in driving accuracy -- Daly found the 7,289-yard course, second-longest in PGA history, a perfect fit.
"Good gracious, what a coil, what an unleashing of power," said Jack Nicklaus after watching Daly.
The 25-year-old from Arkansas shot a second-round 67 to take the lead for good. He built his advantage to as many as five strokes as he finished with rounds of 69 and 71 and beat Bruce Lietzke by three shots.
He had 21 birdies and an eagle over the four days, finishing at 12-under 276 and winning $230,000, well over the $166,590 he had earned the rest of the year. "I came to the PGA tournament with nothing to lose," he said, "and that had everything to do with winning it."
The day after the golfer's victory, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton honored him by declaring that Monday "John Daly Day."
Odds 'n' Ends