Daly Passes on Some Hard Lessons to Little John

He occasionally hears witty remarks from the gallery, but he has long since mastered the art of tuning them out. After growing up on the edge of celebrity, the world becomes a cacophony of background noise.

Despite the fact that he bears his father’s surname and is pursuing his father’s ambition, the comparisons between John Daly and John Daly II are strictly familial at this point in their respective careers.

The fact that a man can drive his golf ball 300 yards down the fairway, as his father famously did to the delight of thousands of spectators in the 1990s, is no longer a mystery. Moreover, while Daly II will occasionally outhit his father these days, he maintains that the strength of his game comes from his work on and around the golf course.

Then there’s the issue of their individual personalities to consider. No one had ever seen anything like the original John Patrick Daly, who was skilled, brash, engaging and self-destructive all at the same time, sometimes within a single round. Despite — or perhaps because of — his rowdy reputation on and off the course, he was one of the most well-liked players on the PGA Tour during his time there.

Daly II, who is now 18 years old, is more reserved and reserved. He describes himself as shy, though he admits that as his public profile grows, he’s working on becoming more outgoing and confident. And the son has the benefit of a recovering role model for a father.

“He tells me to do the opposite of him and I’ll be just fine,” Daly II said on Wednesday.

David Daly II will be in town this week to compete in the 96th New Year’s Invitational at St. Petersburg Country Club, which has been won by former Masters champion Bob Goalby, Gary Koch, and Brandt Snedeker in previous years.

A regular competitor on the American Junior Golf Association circuit, the younger Daly has been involved in the game since the age of four. But his professional status was elevated significantly when he and his father won the PNC Championship in Orlando a few days before Christmas, a feat that was made possible by the generosity of the PNC Foundation.

After coming close to winning the father-son tournament in previous years, they managed to hold off a late charge from Tiger Woods and his son, Charlie, to claim a two-stroke victory this time.

“It was awesome. It was really the first year that we just went out there to enjoy ourselves and have some family fun before the holidays,” Daly II said. “But now I can look back at it and say it feels pretty damn good to be able to beat Tiger Woods.

“I’m going to be bragging about that for a long time.”

Truth be told, Daly II has been running in these circles for much of his life. His father got primary custody of him shortly after his parents split up when he was 7 and JD, as his friends call him, traveled from course to course while being home-schooled and practicing his own game.

By this point, his father was in his 40s and his best days were in the past, but Daly was still a huge draw and would get invitations to tournament around the world.

“I don’t really remember too much from back then, other than I used to heckle the Tour guys on the putting greens,” Daly II said.

After a few years of this, it became clear that life on the PGA Tour could be tricky without a lot of other people his age around. Daly, who settled in Clearwater around this time, enrolled his son in a private school in Orlando and then got him a spot in the IJGA Bishops Gate Golf Academy.

Daly II recently began his freshman season at the University of Arkansas and says he can already see the difference in skill level between junior tournaments and major college golf.

At this point in his life, he’s not ready to make any claims about a potential pro career. He’s got enough power and skill to have attracted attention, but he’s been around the game enough to know how difficult it can be to thrive on the PGA Tour.

He never saw his father play in his prime — although he did study video of Daly’s 1991 PGA Championship victory at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Indiana after Daly II nearly won a junior tournament there — but fully understands that his own career will forever be held up to those standards.

Is that a good thing for a teenager just beginning his journey in the sport?

“I don’t know,” Daly II says before settling into an extended pause.

“I guess we’re going to find out.”

Read the original article on Tampa Bay

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