John Daly feels remorse for walking off the golf course in a huff in the first round of the Australian Open, but naturally, it wasn’t his fault (it never is) that he had run out of balls — which only holds up as a defense figuratively speaking.
Daly, frustrated after hitting the wrong ball on No. 10 and receiving a two-shot penalty, threw in the towel on the following hole last Thursday at The Lakes. Daly hit seven golf balls (it was unclear whether it was five, six or seven for a while) into the water on No. 11 and quit because he didn’t have any balls left. You could say he pulled a Tin Cup, but that would be giving him too much credit since at least Tin Cup didn’t purposely knock them in the drink and eventually succeeded hitting the green.
Speaking at a Pro-Am in Melbourne on Monday, Daly told the AP: “Of course I regret it. But at the time there wasn’t much I could do.”
Sigh. Oh, JD, you’ve flushed so much talent down the drain that it almost makes me feel bad for you until I realize it’s your own fault. Daly has bipolar disorder (and treated for with medication at times, including when he won his majors), but refuses to take his medication because of the side effects. Obviously, I feel bad for the man since he couldn’t help being born with the condition, but it can be managed and treated, which he’s chosen to refuse.
To quote PGA Tour caddie Noah Zelnik’s tweet: “The only way to run out of balls is if you want to run out of golf balls.”
Daly could have called over an official and politely explained the situation and someone would have fetched him as many sleeves of the exact type of ball he was playing. But Daly didn’t explore his options because he had no intention of continuing and purposely ran out of balls, as playing partner Hunter Mahan suggested.
“Once I saw two go in, I think the effort went away pretty fast,” Mahan said. “I thought that’s what we were going to see.”
Australian officials didn’t mince words when it came to their disdain of Daly’s actions.
“It’s very disappointing obviously to the tournament, certainly unprofessional,” said Trevor Herden, the tournament director of the Australian Open and the director of championships for Golf Australia. “I’m extremely bitter and disappointed that he’s treated this championship this way. It’s become a bit of a habit. It’s unacceptable and I certainly hope that all of the tours deal with it in the appropriate manner this time.”
Oh, snaps! And it didn’t stop there.
The PGA of Australia uninvited Daly from the Australian PGA that takes place in two weeks.
An Australasian tour panel is planning to hold a disciplinary hearing this week to discuss the incident and determine Daly’s fate — which may lead to barring him from future invitations to their events. I don’t think anyone can say he didn’t have it coming.
(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)