John Daly’s trousers are brighter than his golf game at the moment.
Daly, who led for parts of the first round of the British Open last week, is a 150-1 longshot at the RBC Canadian Open, which starts today. His two victories in majors came more than 10 years ago, the 1991 PGA Championship and the 1995 British Open, and his last PGA win was in 2004. He’s made $102,385 this year, after two years of less than $70,000 from the PGA tour.
Still, he has fans who follow his progress at most events, and that was enough for Loudmouth Golf, a San Mateo, California-based clothing maker that signed the 43-year-old to wear its products in February 2009. His pants were a major discussion at the British Open again, as was his marketing of the trousers.
“The amount of attention we received each day was incredible,” Alan Wallace, sales director at Loudmouth, said in an e-mail. “We had a 40 percent increase in sales during the entire tournament.”
The American wore psychedelic purple pants in the opening round, that the Daily Telegraph described as resembling “a pair of curtains designed by Jimi Hendrix.”
They were followed by a neon pink effort, while the third round brought a more somber red tiger print. The trousers have names including Cherry Bomb and Cotton Candy. He wore some featuring an American flag motif for the final 18 holes.
Deadspin, an U.S. website that comments on sports and media, said the weekend’s winner was “Daly’s Technicolor pants party explosion, which added some needed zing to an otherwise boring British Open.”
Daly’s sponsorship deal is dependent on sales. The two-time major winner and his girlfriend were selling trousers in St. Andrews in the evening of July 15, after Daly had finished the opening round in third place, according to the U.K.’s Daily Mail.
Wallace declined to release total sales figures for the British Open or Loudmouth’s annual revenue. Daly, who was 6-under par after the first round, finished tied for 48th place at 1-over. Louis Oosthuizen shot a 16-under 272 to win the tournament by seven strokes.
“It is a trend in golf to wear more fashionable and more colorful apparel though Daly is a bit extreme, he is known as the enfant terrible of the scene,” said Peter Steiner, an amateur player and analyst at BHF Bank in Frankfurt.
Daly has won more than $9 million so far in his career and is the 7th longest driver on the PGA tour this year. He was suspended for six months last year, and the career of the crowd- pleasing golfer includes problems with alcohol, gambling and violent behavior.
The odds on Daly from U.K. bookmaker William Hill mean a successful $1 bet will bring in $150 plus the original stake. That compares with 12-1 odds for favorite Sean O’Hair and 16-1 for Englishman Paul Casey. Sixty golfers have better odds than Daly.
When Daly plays, he is often followed by supporters trying to match his attire. Watching the “wild thing” in a golf tournament can be a colorful occasion.
“I’m going to wear them to company parties as well as the golf course. I have no problem with that,” said Jay Swaun, an accountant from Seattle following Daly in Scotland and sporting a design of large squares in red, blue, yellow, orange and green. “Golf can be such a stuffy sport, the trousers are such a big change.”