John Daly Admits He’s a Quitter, Denies He’s an Injury-Faker
By Stephanie Wei under General

After John Daly withdrew from the PGA Championship (with 11 holes of his second round to finish on Saturday morning and no chance of making the cut), he cited that the doctor said he had a torn rotator cuff. But under the care of Doc Whitelaw, he was cleared to play in the Wyndham Championship three days later after what turned out to be a “strained” rotator cuff. Between icing his shoulder and rehabbing it, he managed to make the cut at the Wyndham. In fact, he shot four straight rounds in the 60s and closed with a 64.

What a comeback story! No, seriously. I’m glad JD had a good tournament. Despite these preposterous assumptions I make, I’d love nothing more than Daly to win another major. (But the likeliness of that happening is dwindling.)

Via Geoff Shackelford’s site, I came across this article by Andrew Both on the vicious speculation surrounding Daly’s most recent withdrawal — “His decision to pull out of the tournament prompted some to suggest Daly simply did not want to get up early the next day to complete the round knowing he had little chance of making the cut.” (I’m guessing I fall under the “some” category.)

Here’s what Daly said:

“All I know is I’ve never ever faked an injury on this tour,” the two-time major winner told Reuters after shooting a two-under-par 68 at the Wyndham Championship on Thursday that left him seven strokes off the pace.

“I have quit plenty of times but never have I faked an injury and the guys here know it … when you’re hurt, you’re hurt. I wasn’t playing great at the PGA but I still had 11 holes left (in the second round).”

So you see, he called himself a quitter! (And all that grief I got for poking some fun at it.) It’s also important to note that since 2005, Daly has withdrawn 18 times, including from last year’s PGA Championship at Hazeltine.

Now, just for the record, I’m hyper-sensitive to people who think athletes are faking injuries. As a former golfer who was hit by some crazy drug addict 10 years ago that resulted in chronic back pain since then, I know what it’s like to play through pain and injuries. I don’t want to get so much into my sob story, but I can relate in some way.

Thing is, I never quit (well, depends on how you define that, but I mean dropped out of a tourney. And I was basically forced to take myself out of competition after my junior year in college — not that anyone cares, but this is for purposes of perspective). I have only withdrawn once from a tournament and my mom and my coach practically had to twist my arm to pull out. But I literally couldn’t walk. Then there were the dozens of other times in college, where I limped off the golf course after 36 holes in a day and 15 Advils later. Oh, not to mention the nice cortisone injection I’d received the week before. Okay, now I’m rambling, but just saying that I absolutely empathize with athletes who deal with injuries.

Like Daly said, when you’re hurt, you’re hurt, but it’s just golf and suck it up and finish your round. (See Exhibit A: Tiger Woods winning the 2008 US Open on one leg.) With all the resources and trainers at their disposal, there are ways to temporarily alleviate pain from most injuries. And if you’re hurt, then don’t play again until you’re completely healthy so you don’t have to withdraw.

Not to brag or anything, but I finally hit up the $1/minute massages in the media room after the final round and the therapist told me that I have the tightest muscles she’s ever encountered in her entire career. And that’s not the first time I’ve been told the same. Beat that!

Alright, that turned into more sharing from me than necessary, but just saying that sure, I suggested Daly’s so-called injury was another one of his excuses to quit. Thing is, to my knowledge, every time he does quit — if that means withdrawing from a tournament — he cites an injury. I know he’s suffered from recurring injuries, but if he’s never “faked” one before, yet he’s admittedly quit heaps of times, then I’d like clarification on that.