|John Daly is a well liked but controversial figure on the PGA circuit [GALLO/GETTY]|
John Daly walked off the course at the Australian Open on Thursday after hitting at least five or six balls – officials were not sure of the number – into the water on the 11th hole at The Lakes.
Infuriated Australian tour officials, calling Daly’s actions unprofessional, responded immediately by banning the controversial American from playing in the Australian PGA in two weeks.
Daly was 7 over after 10 holes in the first round after becoming upset with a ruling on the 10th that penalised him two strokes. He casually putted out on the 10th and took a triple-bogey 7.
On the 11th, he hit ball after ball into the water, some landing in the center of the pond, before a tour official joined him. Moments later, Daly shook hands with playing partners Craig Parry of Australia and American Hunter Mahan and walked off the course.
“Once I saw two go in, I think the effort went down pretty fast,” Mahan said.
“It doesn’t do anyone any good for John to do what he did. It’s unfortunate, J.D. is a pleasant guy.”
“We can do that. For him to treat it as ‘that’s it’ and ‘see you later’, that’s not good enough”
Golf Australia’s Trevor Herden
Parry was mostly sympathetic towards Daly, saying he had the right club to reach the green, but the wind was stronger than Daly realised.
“I like John, he’s a great guy,” Parry said.
In a Twitter message, Daly said: “when u run out of balls u run out of balls. yes, I shook my player’s partners hands & signed my card w/rules official.”
Trevor Herden, Golf Australia’s director of tournaments, called Daly’s actions “unprofessional” and said action needed to be taken against him.
And Herden said running out of balls was no excuse for walking off the course.
“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’, that’s not good enough.”
‘Bitter and disappointed’
Herden said Daly appeared to become upset after hitting the wrong ball out of a bunker on 10 – apparently there were two there, one from the nearby practice range.
“I believe he has gone down 11, hitting five or six balls in the water – I am not exactly sure,” Herden said.
“Anyway, he walks right off the golf course, with his son behind him, got in the courtesy car and went straight back to his hotel.”
Herden said he was “bitter and disappointed” by Daly’s actions.
“It is very disappointing for the tournament… that he has treated the championship this way,” Herden said.
“It is a bit of a habit, but it is unacceptable and I certainly hope all the tours deal with it in an appropriate manner this time.”
|Daly of the USA walking off the course in a rage at the 11th hole during day one [GALLO/GETTY]|
Asked why the Australian Open would have paid him appearance money to be here, Herden replied: “I am not going to talk about appearance money, but he likes to come back this time of year to Australia.
“He is a major winner, we have to pay him some respect, too, even though his times have moved on slightly. But I would say this will be the last time we will see John Daly.”
The PGA Tour of Australasia later issued a statement saying no appearance fees had been paid to Daly. It also said Daly’s actions Thursday would be referred to a disciplinary committee.
Daly, now ranked 666th in the world, was scheduled to play at the Australian PGA at the Hyatt Regency course at Coolum in two weeks.
“I think you might find that might change,” Herden said, and the statement later said that the tour had withdrawn its offer for Daly to play at Coolum.
“The PGA does not need this kind of behavior tarnishing the achievements of other players and the reputation of our tournaments,” the statement said.
“John is not welcome at Coolum.”
In 2002, after taking a triple-bogey 7 on his last hole at the Coolum course, Daly threw his putter and ball into a greenside pond and later failed to sign for a 78 on his scorecard, disqualifying himself from the tournament.
He was later fined $5,600 by the Australasian tour and was ordered to write a letter of apology to a tour official he verbally abused.
Two years ago at the Australian Open, he smashed a spectator’s camera into a tree at Royal Sydney’s ninth hole. He was given a suspended fine by Golf Australia.
In 1998 at the PGA Tour’s Bay Hill Invitational, Daly hit a 3-wood into the water six times in the final round, took an 18 on the par-5 sixth hole and shot an 85.
In the 2000 U.S. Open, he had a 14 on the par-5 18th hole and withdrew after an opening-round 83. Daly dumped three balls into the Pacific Ocean and hit another into a backyard adjacent to the fairway.