Daley's been there all along

The Plymouth-Whitemarsh grad's hard work has paid off, friends say.

Posted: July 04, 2012

Much of the golfing world may be hearing Joe Daley's name for the first time, but as his friends and family will affirm, the Plymouth Whitemarsh High School graduate has been around the whole time.

Not in the spotlight, as Daley, winner Sunday of the Constellation Senior Players Championship, is now. But in the background, constantly working, playing small tournaments in small towns and in whatever and wherever else it took to make it.

Chuck Britton, a friend of Daley's, has known him since their teenage years when they played junior golf together. Daley was born in Chestnut Hill.

"We watch what the sportscasters say. We hear what people say, that 'he came out of nowhere,' " Britton said. "He's been working on his game for 30 years and played in tours all over the world. He's put in a lot of work getting where he is right now - a lot of work - and he's been playing really well."

All the work culminated Sunday in an impressive 14-under victory for Daley, edging out Tom Lehman by 2 strokes at Fox Chapel Golf Club near Pittsburgh to win his first Champions Tour major championship.

His wife, Carol, was on hand as well as his sister and many of his friends to relish the victory.

"Joe made me suffer right down to the final putt, but he had a great last putt," Carol Daley said. "When it fell, I just let out the biggest 'Wow' ever."

"Are we surprised that he won? Maybe that he won," Britton said. "But are we surprised that he did really well? No."

Richard Bordner of Pittsburgh was there to watch Daley as well. His sister has been friends with Daley for "five or 10 years now," Bordner said, so Bordner came out to support him.

"[My sister] has always known Joe Daley was a champion, and now everybody else does," Bordner said.

Bordner brought enough emotion for him and his sister, visibly shaking and on the verge of tears as Daley was being presented with the trophy.

"I don't think I could drive a car for about three hours," he said.

Carol Daley deservedly celebrated her husband's victory with some champagne.

"He's always come back. There's no quit in him, and there never will be any quit in him. One of the nicest guys you ever want to meet," she said. "He's always trying to make himself better, and that makes you really believe in him. I never once doubted him."

"This is what's great about golf. You earn it," Britton said. "It's not the names, it's what you do with that golf ball, and he did it. He won it."

And while the crowd cheered loudest over these last few days for defending champion Fred Couples, eventually many came around to Joe Daley, including the staff.

"You know, when the crowds are rooting for [Couples] and they don't know Joe, there were still just so many volunteers that came up to me and said, 'What a great guy. He's been so nice to us this week. We're rooting for him.' It's been a wondrous journey," Carol Daley said.

He's no longer just some Joe Schmoe to golf fans, but now, officially, Joe Daley, seen just as his family and friends have seen him for all these years.

"He is such a good person. Nobody deserves it more than Joe," Bordner said. "And I think golf deserves it. I think golf deserves Joe."

Contact Brandon Boyd at bboyd@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1724. Follow on Twitter @brandonmboyd.

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