‘Long’ John Daly insisted there was no better feeling than getting his hands on the PNC Championship belts alongside his sweet-swinging son ‘Little’ John at the Ritz Carlton course in Orlando.
Team Daly spoiled the party for a crowd heavily in favour of Tiger and Charlie Woods after both teams closed out the final round with 15-under par 57s in the two-person scramble. It gave the Dalys a tournament record winning total of 27-under par, two shots better off than Team Woods who grabbed outright second.
“It’s up there,” two-time Major winner Daly answered when asked where the victory would rank in his list of career accomplishments.
“You can’t beat it. For fathers, as WE’RE on the Senior Tour, we’re not playing the British Opens and majors competitive like I used to. I can still play the British Open and the PGA but nothing comes close. I’ve always told the media for years, the greatest days of my life were seeing my kids born. You can’t top that.
“To be here and win a big tournament like this with my son, nothing can beat it.”
For Little John, it’s been an event he’s craved victory at since he first teed up at the age of 12. Now 18, the swashbuckling swinger, a carbon-copy of his 55-year old dad, the real-life ‘Happy Gilmore’ who endeared himself to the world with his grip it and rip it style of play, is a freshman at the University of Arkansas where he’s adding discipline to his craft as he bids to follow in Dad’s footsteps.
“It’s definitely No. 1,” said Little John of the win. “I mean, every year I’ve always wanted to win here and this was the only year I just really focused on having a good time and just being happy and finally got it done, so it’s definitely No. 1.”
As for his own journey that could one day lead to the pro ranks:
“I’m just making the move from junior golf to college golf. I have plenty of time. I’m still young. So just trying to get more reps in in the college field and in amateur events.”
For Daly, who had a cancer scare last year and who’s set to release a country music album in the near future, weekends like the one just past take on extra special meaning and having dressed as Santa Claus earlier in the week, it turns out St. Nicholas kept the best gift of all for himself.
Still a firm fan favourite wherever he plays around the globe, a common man often seen sucking down cigarettes and cans of coke as he makes his way ’round the course in his always colourful get-up, Daly has been known for his antics off the fairway as much as he has on it but for all the distractions away from the game, one thing keeps his mind somewhat focussed on golf.
“Well, I think it’s love for the game no matter where we go but it’s love for my son and to be able to play for him and love for family and to be able to win and play with him like this, whether or not we win or lose,” he said.
“I just enjoy being out here competitive and being on his team and just having a great week.”
- Full scoring HERE