‘No Rest, High Stress, Lots of Caffeine, Lots of Nicotine’: John Daly Slumped and Went Into ‘Self-Destruct’ Mode While Battling Personal Troubles in 2003

Published 08/25/2022, 4:00 PM EDT
THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS – APRIL 30: John Daly looks on after putting on hole two during the second round of the Insperity Invitational at The Woodlands Golf Club on April 30, 2022 in The Woodlands, Texas. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

Injuries, legal troubles, personal life battles, cancer, and much more, John Daly has faced it all in his life. The golfer has always been open about his mental health struggles and shortcomings throughout his career. Despite being a fan-favorite golfer, Daly has undergone a lot of mental trauma over the years. Today we take a look back at 2003, a personally troubled year for Daly, which he wishes to be forgotten.

John Daly has accomplished a lot in his career.  The 56-year-old, known for his powerful golf swing, has 5 PGA Tour wins to his name, including 2 Majors. After turning pro at the age of 21, it took Big John only 4 years to win his first Major after claiming the 1991 PGA Championship.


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Despite his exquisite accomplishments, Daly, just like any other human being has shortcomings. But in 2003, the demons took a toll on JD, when the golfer decided to go into self-destruction mode due to personal battles. But what were the circumstances that led the golfer to harm himself?

John Daly struggles with depression

Though Daly has been through a lot of difficult phases in his life, the series of events that took place in 2003 had a massive impact on the golfer’s mental health. Following his then-wife Sherine’s indictment, Daly was fired by his longtime caddie, Mick Peterson.

BIRMINGHAM, AL – MAY 13: John Daly at the 17th green during the second round of the PGA TOUR Champions Regions Tradition at Greystone Golf and Country Club on May 13, 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Tracy Wilcox/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

Moreover, Daly’s assistant and driver Donnie Crabtree also decided to part ways with the 2 time Major Champion after 10 years. The two were also classmates in the first grade. When asked the reasons behind the decision, Crabtree said, “It’s hard watching somebody that you love self-destruct”.

Crabtree then discussed the poor diet that John Daly has been following for the past few weeks. He said, “John can go weeks without drinking, but he’s a binger. He’ll drink and not eat, smoke three packs a day.


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Donnie Crabtree further added, “He drinks Diet Cokes like they’re going out of style. No rest, high stress, lots of caffeine, lots of nicotine. You add all those things together, and you get what’s happened over the last six or seven weeks.” 

After the roughest phase in his life, Daly bounced back again. The following year Big John won his 5th PGA Tour win after claiming the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines Golf Course. Moreover, Daly has been using his past flaws as a source of motivation for the young generation to overcome their worst fears.

Despite all the pain and sorrow, John Daly has made the most out of his career. He is one of the most loved golfers of his generation. It’s about time for Daly to be inducted into the Golf Hall of Fame for all of his achievements on and off the golf course.


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How much do you admire John Daly’s legacy? Let us know in the comments section below!

Watch This Story: John Daly Once Spilled the Beans on His Short Temper



Abdul Bari Khan

626 articles

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.

Edited By: Manaal Siddiqui