Decoding the Reason Behind John Daly’s Infamous PGA Tour Suspension

Published 06/22/2022, 9:30 AM EDT
SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA – SEPTEMBER 11: John Daly waits to hit his tee shot on the 17th hole during the first round of the Sanford International at Minnehaha Country Club on September 11, 2020, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

John Daly is one of the most controversial yet the most colorful and entertaining golfers of all time. His witty personality has helped him gather a loyal set of fans. Daly has faced several suspensions throughout his PGA Career. Today we look back at the 2008 suspension imposed by the PGA Tour on him which to this day remains slightly encoded.

There is hardly any golfer with Daly’s background or personality. As a kid, Daly never knew the luxuries of playing in a country club and learned to play the sport by himself. Despite his early struggles, John Daly went on to embark on one of the most successful golf careers. Unfortunately, the achievements Daly earned in the initial phase of his career got overshadowed by controversies he faced in the latter part of his career.


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Daly served a six-month suspension

In December 2008, the PGA Tour suspended John Daly for six months. The situation brought in unwelcome publicity, which also resulted in the 2-time Major Champion spending a night in North Carolina jail to sober up.

SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA – SEPTEMBER 18: John Daly of the United States putts on the 5th green during the second round of the Sanford International Presented by Cambria at Minnehaha Country Club on September 18, 2021 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Big John believed the PGA Tour only suspended him because of high public pressure. He said, “Is it fair that I got suspended? It’s not fair in reality, but it’s probably fair in perception.” 


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Initially, the PGA Tour did not disclose the details of Daly’s suspension, citing its long-time policy of not discussing suspensions or fines. However, the then 42-year-old confirmed his suspension. He also shared his feelings about it by saying, “This is the lowest I’ve ever been.”

Why did the PGA Tour suspend John Daly?


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When the questions arose as to why was Big John suspended, he took the initiative to disclose the details. Daly pointed at several incidents that took place that year.

Dec 16, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; John Daly plays his shot on the the third tee during a pro-am round of the PNC Championship golf tournament at Grande Lakes Orlando Course. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports | REUTERS

John Daly cited the first incident that occurred at Innisbrook during the Florida swing, at which he emerged from a Hooters hospitality tent with the then Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden as his caddie. Later that year, he smashed a tee shot off the top of a beer can during a Pro-Am tournament. Finally, the drunken night outside Hooters that resulted in him being taken into protective custody by the Winston Salem police guaranteed his suspension.


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Despite his controversial career, John Daly remains one of the fan favorites to this day. Do you believe the reason behind his suspension is true? Share your comments below.

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Abdul Bari Khan

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Abdul Bari is a Golf writer at EssentiallySports. Having completed his Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Abdul is currently pursuing his Master’s in the same. With great affection for the world of sports, this avid golf lover turned to the course at a young age.