When Tiger debuted on tour, it was planned, calculated, sponsored. "Hello world," he said in his first press conference, his sentences already ending in Nike swooshes and dollar signs. When he won his first major, it was impressive but expected, like Lindsay Lohan’s STD collection. Daly crashed at countless Days Inns on the Nationwide Tour before qualifying for the PGA in 1991 and — improbably — winning the PGA Championship later that year. When he found out he’d made the field (as the ninth alternate), he spent all night driving odd-numbered interstates from Memphis to Indiana. He changed shoes in the Crooked Stick parking lot and proceeded to leave his footprints all over the field.
"I don’t have anybody to blame for this win but me," he said after his victory, and he’s carried that same attitude out of the locker room and into his life. The wins haven’t come as often — and not at all since 2004 — but he’s continued to hack away, even though most of the names from the ’91 leaderboards have swapped their three irons for 2.5 kids and a life away from the Tour.
Off the course, Daly has long since filled his "Nobody to Blame But Me" file cabinet. He’s been married in a casino, remained committed to the mullet hairstyle and was arrested outside a North Carolina Hooters, successfully completing the white trash trifecta.
Surprisingly his ruddy-cheeked Forsyth County mugshot (where he looked disturbingly like Janet Reno in an orange jumpsuit) wasn’t his lowest point. For that, he could pick between being allegedly stabbed by his estranged wife, selling his own memorabilia across from the entrance to Augusta National or recording a country album with half of Hootie and the Blowfish. By the time he launched his own clothing line — one that featured a lion as a logo — Daly looked less like the King of the Jungle and more like an aging attraction at a nature preserve.
But he’s still out there, still trying, even though he’s long since lost the sponsors for his clubs and golf balls. In the past five years, he’s missed more cuts than he’s made, but he’s making an effort to leave some of his bad habits in a roadside bunker. He still chain smokes and pounds Diet Coke, but since having lap band surgery he no longer sweats sawmill gravy. Daly has dropped over one hundred pounds so far — the equivalent of that surly girl from the Twilight series — so he and Tiger Woods both weigh in at 185 pounds.