In 1991, Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Indiana played host to both the PGA Championship and to one of the biggest underdog stories in sports history: John Daly’s first PGA Tour win. Daly was a PGA Tour rookie at the age of 25 and was never meant to play the tournament. He was the 9th alternate and hadn’t bothered to travel from his home in Memphis on the slim chance he would get to play the tournament. Then, Wednesday morning, Daly received the call from the PGA. Nick Price was withdrawing from the tournament as his wife was going into labor and if Daly could make it, there was a spot for him. Daly jumped in his car and drove to the course. Daly was unable to play a practice round but secured the services of Price’s caddy Jeff “Squeaky” Medlin to help him throughout the tournament.

Daly showed 2 aspects of his character in winning. The first is perhaps the best known part of Daly’s persona: he went to a McDonald’s drive through in a limousine to get a bite to eat before returning for a party at Crooked Stick. The perhaps less well remembered but much more significant act was that he announced immediately that he would donate $30,000 to a scholarship fund for the daughters of Thomas Weaver, a fan who had tragically died when he was struck by lightning while attending the PGA Championship. And with the win, Daly etched himself into PGA Championship history.

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“I felt I was almost responsible for him being killed,” Daly recalls in a lengthy interview appearing in August’s Golf Digest. So after receiving his $230,000 check, Daly dedicated $30,000 toward the education of Karen, 8 at the time, and Emily, who was 12. Daly was engaged to his second wife then and already was juggling debts and demons. But this rabid drinker, gambler and smoker also is a compulsive giver, and Daly says the donation was a no-brainer, which tells you a lot about what’s beneath all those logos.

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