John Daly says he has lost between US$50 million and US$60 million during 12 years of heavy gambling, and that it has become a problem that could "flat-out ruin me" if he doesn't bring it under control.
Daly discussed his addiction to gambling in the final chapter of his autobiography, John Daly: My Life In and Out of the Rough, to be released next Monday.
He told one story of earning US$750,000 when he lost in a playoff to Tiger Woods last fall in San Francisco at a World Golf Championship. Instead of going home, he drove to Las Vegas and says he lost US$1.65 million in five hours playing mostly US$5,000 slot machines.
"If I don't get control of my gambling, it's going to flat-out ruin me," he says in the book, co-written with Glen Waggoner and published by HarperCollins.
The book got the attention of US PGA Tour headquarters, and commissioner Tim Finchem met with Daly on Monday at the Wachovia Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Finchem said the book does not violate the US tour regulations, although "it is clear that he continues to be concerned about and grapple with significant personal challenges."
"I have expressed to John the tour's concern for his well-being, as well as his ongoing need to uphold the image and standards of the PGA Tour," Finchem said. "While we will continue to enforce the regulations and policies of the PGA Tour, I have advised John of the tour's willingness to support him in his efforts to deal with his personal issues."
The two-time major champion wrote that he has spent the last 10 years paying off gambling debts with his sponsorship income, earning appearance money and "running myself ragged doing corporate outings instead of spending time with my family and working on my game."
Daly, 40, gained instant fame in 1991 when as the ninth alternate he won the U.S. PGA Championship, bolstering his image with a power-hitting, "grip-and-rip-it" style that made him a fan favorite.
He entered himself into a drug rehabilitation clinic for alcoholism in 1993 and has been divorced three times.
He said he owed US$4 million to casinos in two years of gambling until he won the 1995 British Open at St. Andrews, his second major. That victory and the ability to get handsome appearance fees, enabled him to pay off the debt.
Daly says he has taken more control of his life in the last six years.
"I'm off those ... medications. I don't drink JD [Jack Daniels] anymore. I don't beat up on hotel rooms and cars as much. Only gambling remains a problem," he wrote.