The Forgotten Story Of John Daly Using The Check From His First PGA Win To Help A Grieving Family Is Why He’s A Legend

john daly first winning paycheck donation

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  • John Daly quietly donated $30,000 to help a grieving family the week after he won his first tournament on the tour at the PGA Championship
  • The money was used to start a college fund for the daughters of a spectator who died after being struck by lightning at the tournament
  • Read more stories about the legend of John Daly here

This summer will mark the 30th anniversary of one of the most unlikely success stories you’ll ever come across; an underdog tale that would have all the makings of a Disney movie if the man at the center of it wasn’t a chain smoker with anger management issues and an undying love of Hooters.

On August 7, 1991, a 25-year-old John Daly was informed he’d been tapped to replace Nick Price after the latter withdrew from the PGA Tournament the day before the first round was slated to kick off. After making the seven-hour drive to Crooked Stick Golf Club, the virtually unknown replacement found himself thrust into the spotlight a few days later after winning the entire thing.

In addition to walking away with the trophy, Daly received a $230,000 paycheck for the major victory (which was also his first on the PGA Tour). It wouldn’t take long for the unapologetically eccentric Daly to become one of the most popular (and polarizing) golfers the sport had to offer, but there’s one story from that week that’s largely flown under the radar that proves why he’s the legend he’ll always be remembered as.

The unlikely win was slightly marred by an incident that occurred on the first day of the tournament, as a spectator named Thomas Weaver was struck and killed by lightning while walking to his car. His tragic death got a fair amount of coverage, but as ESPN recently noted, the same can’t be said for what Daly did to come to the aid of the grieving family with his big paycheck.

Weaver left behind a wife and two daughters, and after Daly received his winnings, he sent $30,000 to the family to establish a college fund for the girls. They spoke with the outlet and revealed they’d each been able to use the money to pay for their education and still have some tucked away they plan to tap into when their children get old enough to pursue a degree.

What a guy.