Rising Stars
May 27, 2020

UPDATED: John Daly's son shines in big junior golf event—and the venue couldn't be more fitting

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Manuela Davies

John Daly and his son Little John at the 2017 PNC Father/Son Challenge.

It’s impossible to watch John Daly’s son take his long, powerful swing and not recall his dad’s grip-it-and-rip-it approach to playing golf. But now the pair’s career paths in the game may be starting to mirror each other.

On Tuesday, John Daly II grabbed a share of the lead at a national junior tournament—and it couldn’t have come at a more fitting place.

Crooked Stick Golf Club is best known for Daly’s breakthrough major victory at the 1991 PGA Championship, but it nearly became site of Little John’s own major triumph. The younger Daly found himself in a five-way tie for the lead after 36 holes at the Dye National Junior Invitational.

He then shot a final-round 76 at the Carmel, Ind., course on Wednesday to finish in a tie for second with a four-over 220, four back of winner John Marshall Butler.

“I played great,” Daly II told the Indianapolis Star. “It would have been cool to win, but I still have time. Just a couple bad three-putts both days, but other than that I played great.”

Ahead of the inaugural tournament—named in honor of famed golf architects Pete and Alice Dye with a field of 33 of the top male and female juniors golfers in the country—the 16-year-old high school junior in Clearwater, Fla., said he caught a replay of the 1991 PGA.

“I watched it every night before the tournament,” Daly said. “[Watching him] walk down the 18th with all of the fans everywhere was pretty cool. … For him to win, it was a ridiculous story. He loves it.”

Daly II first drew attention in the golf world by pairing with his dad at the PNC Father/Son Challenge. A clip of him sinking the winning putt at a junior golf tournament in 2017 also went viral.

Big John became an instant sensation when he won the 1991 PGA Championship at Crooked Stick as the tournament’s ninth alternate. Needless to say, he’s been cheering on Little John all week as he literally follows in his dad’s footsteps.

And, yes, follows in his dad’s sense of style. Regardless of what happens on Wednesday, this won’t be the last we see of Little John.

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