How in the world does a rookie that barely made it to the PGA Championship go on to win the weekend? John Daly answered that question at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Indiana, in 1991. Daly had 23 starts and had missed 11 cuts leading up to the championship, so it took a series of withdrawals for him to even get into the tournament.
What followed? Daly playing Crooked Stick for the first time in his life and shooting a 12-under 276. His lead was such that all it took was 1-under 71 in the final round to hold off Bruce Lietzke and take the Grand Slam, the first of two in his career.
Daly's start was strong, but not mind-bending. He shot 3-under 69 on Thursday, putting himself two strokes back of the lead and tying him for eighth on the leaderboard. On Friday, Daly's day went better. He shot 5-under 67, putting him one stroke ahead of Lietzke for the lead. By this time, people naturally took notice of the 25-year-old late entry that was running up the leaderboard.
His third round only extended that lead. Daly shot another 69, putting him three strokes ahead of Kenny Knox and Craig Stadler. His 71 on Sunday closed the deal, and Daly took the title.
His win didn't come without a spot of controversy. Daly was nearly penalized two strokes for an incident in the third round when his caddie, Jeff Medlin, touched the green with the flagstick. Rules prevent players and caddies from touching the green to assist in finding a line for a putt. If the scores had held, mind you, it wouldn't have mattered. Another two strokes would have put Daly at 10-under 278 for the tournament.
It was a remarkable performance from a player as green as Daly was. His career was littered with memorable moments, but it's hard to find one more memorable than the first time he shocked the world on the Tour.