By Evin Priest
ESPN had previously never produced one of its famous ’30 for 30′ documentaries on a professional golfer.
So it came as no surprise when the sports network chose John Daly as the series’ first golfer that its release would garner worldwide attention and anticipation. Especially when it was titled, Hit It Hard.
Hit It Hard was everything a golf fan expected, and more. The viewer gets to ride the highs and lows of Daly’s tumultuous and wonderful career. The two Major championships, the money, the adulation, the drinking and gambling – all of it.
But ESPN has portrayed Daly in the realest way possible. It’s incredibly honest and allows Daly to almost verbally teach himself the life lessons he regrets not learning sooner.
We’ve watched Hit It Hard, and selected some of the biggest quotes:
On losing weight in college: “I was told in college I needed to lose weight. So I lost 70 pounds (31.75kg) in two-and-a-half months. And it was all on Jack Daniel’s and popcorn – dry popcorn.”
His college coach recommended he start smoking to lose weight: “It’ll curve your appetite … and now I’ve been smoking for 30 years.”
On the support for his debut Major victory at the 1991 US PGA Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club: “The fans played such a big part of my win the PGA at Crooked Stick. I’ve never been dishonest with the fans whether its good or bad and I think they appreciate that.”
On the influx of wealth and endorsements: “The money just came flowing in … Wilson signed on this big deal and I got lazy. Started not working as hard on my game as I needed to. My life changed in four days and I wasn’t ready for the aftermath of it. ”
“I wasn’t taught how to be successful. All this money started coming in. All of a sudden these hands are out and I thought, I’ll go to a bar, get drunk as hell and deal with it tomorrow.”
“The expectations that John was just going to completely bring down the game of golf were unrealistic.” – Broadcaster Jim Nantz.
“If I played bad (on course), I’m (going to) get drunk as I possibly could … I hope I miss my tee time tomorrow. I’d get so drunk I couldn’t even talk.”
“Thing I’ve learned is whatever problems you have ‘aint gonna go away ‘cos you drink. Still ‘gonna be there tomorrow. And I found that out way too late.”
On being charged with the third degree assault of his then wife in December 1992: “It was the most embarrassing day of my life – knowing that people think I hit my wife.”
On winning the 1995 Open Championship at St Andrews:
“In 1995, even though he was a Major champion, no one gave him a shot at St Andrews.” – Broadcaster David Feherty.
“When I won the British Open, I filled it (Claret Jug) up with chocolate ice cream and ate it. The real one. The one you keep for a year got full of chocolate ice cream.”
“St Andrews its my favourite place to play in the world, no matter what I do. The fans are my extended family. They’re loyal. I know I’ve let ‘em down, but I know I’ve made ’em high-five at times too.”
“I look back at the (1991) PGA it was like winning the lottery. And the British Open was like proving myself. Nicklaus said, ‘Your life’s complete when you win the British Open at St Andrews.’”
“The PGA (Championship win) probably made me three or four million (dollars), the British (Open) probably made me 15 million and in a five-year span. The royalties were coming in and a lot of money was coming in – and I love gambling. You have 300 or 400 thousand dollars on the blackjack table you’re gonn have adrenaline.”
“I’ve lost about 95 to 98 million and won about 40 or 45 million, so we figured 53 or 55 million dollars I’ve lost.”
Hit It Hard trailer:
Prediction: a lot of people are going to watch John Daly's '30 for 30.' pic.twitter.com/fbdkMGl6ct
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) October 6, 2016