John Daly, one of the most talented and controversial athletes of all time, celebrates his 50th birthday today. Apparently, “Long John” is going to receive an interesting birthday present from fellow professional golfer, Fuzzy Zoeller.
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Daly has a long history of aberrant behavior and well-documented struggles with substance abuse and gambling. His binge drinking led to problems on the golf course as well as issues in his personal life highlighted by three failed marriages.
Apparently, Daly and Zoeller made the bet on the course at Augusta National some time ago during the week leading up to the Masters tournament. Zoeller didn’t seem to think that Daly’s lifestyle would allow him to celebrate his 50th birthday.
“I think it was Tuesday morning and we played nine holes and went to T-Bonz (restaurant) and had some lunch,’’ he recalled. “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.’ ”
Daly says he doesn’t remember shaking on the bet, so, it might not be official.
“So I won’t hold him up to it,’’ Daly said. “I’ll just have him give me a free bottle of his vodka. That’s about it.”
Throughout his checkered career Daly has amassed 22 wins as a professional golfer including the 1991 PGA Championship and the 1995 Open Championship. His ‘grip it and rip it’ style of play also won him Rookie Of The Year in 1991 and Comeback Player Of The Year in 2004.
At age 50, Daly is now eligible for play on the Champions Tour which is the senior tour of golf.