Another sad display by Daly draws anger in Australia

November 10, 2011

SYDNEY -- John Daly not only ran out of golf balls on Thursday. He pretty much ran himself out of Australia.

Using words like "unprofessional," "disappointed," "extremely bitter," and "unacceptable," Australian Open tournament director Trevor Herden said in a news conference that Daly had played his last Australian Open. His invitation to the upcoming Australian PGA has been taken off the table.

"John is not welcome at Coolum," said Brian Thorburn, CEO of the PGA of Australia.


What triggered Herden's directness and Thorburn's ban was the latest in a series of Tin Cup moments for the weathered 45-year-old two-time major champion.

Coming off a double bogey at the ninth and a two-stroke penalty on the 10th hole for hitting a driving range ball from a bunker instead of his own ball, Daly was a WD waiting to happen. In a series reminiscent of the 18 he took at Bay Hill's sixth hole in 1998, Daly fired seven straight shots into the lake fronting the par-5 11th as spectators laughed and tournament officials seethed.

With arm extended to his caddie after every shot, Daly began firing from approximately 230 yards until he was finally out of golf balls. Each shot became progressively worse, coming up 30 yards short and missing wide right by the same distance, Daly was 15 total strokes into the hole when he ripped the Velcro on his glove and walked to playing partners Hunter Mahan and Craig Parry, before leaving the course with 8-year-old son John Patrick by his side.

"Once I saw two go in, I think the effort went down pretty fast," Mahan said. "I thought that's what we were going to see and we did. It's not the most respectful thing for a guy who would die to play in this."

Daly tried to explained why he quit on a Twitter feed. "When u run out of balls,   u run out of balls," were words that rang hollow with Herden.

"If you run out of golf balls, and you are acting in a professional manner, you will call a rules official and we will get the type of ball he is playing with and replenish his stock," Herden said. "We can do that. For him to treat it as 'that's it' and 'see you later', that¹s not good enough."

The laundry list of Daly meltdowns and walk-offs go back three decades. The enablers in this case was Golf Australia, which kept inviting Daly back because as Harden said twice in the news conference, "He is a major champion."

But even the tournament director knew an invitation to Daly presents some risk. Going back 20 years, Daly capitalized on his win in the PGA Championship by traveling to the Australian Masters. Herden was a rules official at that event when Daly refused to sign his card and walked off.

Reportedly strapped for cash and ranked 666th in the world, Daly stole coverage in the Sydney Morning Herald on a day when Tiger Woods shot 68, Adam Scott recorded an albatross, Greg Norman broke par (71) coming off shoulder surgery, and fellow Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples was on the leader board with a 67.

Herden denied Daly was paid an appearance fee, but didn¹' deny the impact it had on Australia¹s national championship. "It is not a good light for all the other Tour players out here doing their best and playing the championship," he said.

Daly was suspended four months by the PGA Tour after walking off during a Sony Open. In the 2009 Aussie Open at Royal Sydney, he was fined by Golf Australia for throwing a photographer's camera into a tree. In September, he pulled out of the Nationwide Tour's Mylan Classic complainng of a hamstring pull. He was six over through five holes at the time. Twenty days later, he withdrew from the Austrian Open in a rules dispute, throwing his club into a pond

"It is becoming a bit of a habit," Herden said. "It is unacceptable and I certainly hope that all the Tours deal with it in the appropriate manner this time. I believe they have had just about enough of him."

-- *Tim Rosaforte