John Daly reveals he has bladder cancer: ‘Maybe there’s a miracle’

John Daly in January at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii.

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John Daly overcame the odds on the golf course. 

He says he plans to do so off it, too. 

Daly, who won the 1991 PGA Championship as the ninth alternate before also winning the 1995 Open Championship, told Golf Channel that he recently underwent a successful surgery for bladder cancer, but said doctors have told him that “there’s an 85 percent chance it comes back.”

“It’s probably going to come back and then another three months that you don’t know,” Daly, 54, told Golf Channel. “You just don’t know. Luckily for me, they caught it early, but bladder cancer is something that I don’t know all the details. But it doesn’t look like it may go away. We will just see what happens. Maybe there’s a miracle.”

Daly told Golf Channel that he plans to reduce his consumption habits going forward — he once said he drank 28 Diet Cokes and smoked 40 cigarettes per day. Daly said that he learned of the cancer after recently visiting a doctor for kidney stones and back pain.   

“I’m cutting way, way back on the Diet Coke and counting minutes before I can have a cigarette. I’m trying to quit smoking,” said Daly, who has also battled other health issues, including alcoholism, in his life. “The doctors aren’t saying it’s too late. Unfortunately, it’s a cancer that keeps coming back. But I’m going to listen to them, and I’m going to try and quit smoking. If it comes back, it comes back. Six months to a year, if it doesn’t go away, I’m going to live my life. I’m gonna have some fun.”

Daly told Golf Channel that he’s “not scared to die or anything.” 

“It would have been nice to play the last seven or eight or 13 years of my career a little more healthy,” he said. “But hey, I’m still working, I’m still living life, I’m still doing the things I need to do. … I can accept the challenge. I’m not scared of that. I just want my kids to be OK and everyone else in my family.”

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at