John Daly: 'Wild Thing' lets rip round Pebble Beach

    Story highlights

    • American golfer John Daly one off the lead after an opening round of 65 at Pebble Beach
    • Daly is known as "Wild Thing" and famous for his colorful attire on the course
    • The 48-year-old has had well documented battles with alcohol and gambling
    • Daly has two major titles to his name - the British Open and PGA Championship

    (CNN)It should be a match made in heaven.

    But in the last decade the "Wild Thing" hasn't prospered in the blustery environs of Pebble Beach on the Monterey Peninsula in California.
      Since 1991, John Daly has played 10 times at the AT&T National Pro-Am, and not made the cut once.
      Thursday saw one of golf's most colorful -- quite literally -- characters tame the conditions, however, to shoot an impressive opening round of 65.
      The 48-year-old has had well documented battles with alcohol and gambling during his career but showed he can still mix it with the best with a combination of big hitting and short game prowess.
      Daly, a two-time major champion, carded seven birdies in a bogey-free round to sit one off the lead, held by fellow Americans J.B. Holmes and Justin Hicks. It was his best opening round since 2005.
      "It's been a long time since I played that well in the first round of this tournament," Daly told the PGA Tour's official website.
      "I still feel like I got somewhat of the length to play somewhat long golf courses. Not like some of the guys, but I just hit it in good positions and I left myself those six or seven pins that were back that I left myself good uphill putts.
      "I had about four or five gimme birdies -- that always helps too. Didn't knock any over the green."
      Daly is renowned for his colorful attire and is usually accompanied on the course by his caddie -- girlfriend Anna Cladakis, who also dresses accordingly.
      Golf caddies sue the PGA tour for ad revenue
      exp QMB caddies sue pga_00002001

        JUST WATCHED

        Golf caddies sue the PGA tour for ad revenue

      MUST WATCH

      Golf caddies sue the PGA tour for ad revenue 04:30
      He has long been a popular player on the Tour, partly due to his hitting prowess -- he was the first man to average over 300 yards per drive over the course of a full season in 1997.
      But he also gained fans for being the antithesis of the traditional golfer with his flowing locks, alternative dress sense and, at times, controversial private life.
      He has twice been banned by the PGA, once for six months in 2008 when he was found drunk outside a restaurant in North Carolina and spent a night in jail.
      Daly's breakthrough came at the 1991 PGA Championship. Daly only got in as a ninth alternate and went on to win by three shots to claim his first PGA title.
      He followed that up with the 1995 British Open, defeating Constantino Rocca after the Italian had holed a miraculous 60-foot putt on the final hole to force a playoff.
      How European golf flourished
      spc living golf middle east c_00013420

        JUST WATCHED

        How European golf flourished

      MUST WATCH

      How European golf flourished 07:10
      Daly has only two top 10 finishes to his name since 2006 and last came close to winning a title when he was beaten by 14-time major champion Tiger Woods in a playoff at a World Golf Championships event.
      He is playing the pro-am with Herm Edwards, a former NFL star who went on to coach the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs, and he was full of praise for his partner's upbeat attitude.
      "He's just the most positive human being in the world," Daly said. "No matter what happens, everything's positive. Me and (fellow player) Tommy Gainey were talking about it. We would like to go see him speak somewhere, just to get fired up."