It's been a tough week for John Daly, a two-time major champion and fan favorite who has accepted sponsor's exemptions to compete in both D-FW tour stops this season.
First, there were reports of boorish behavior by Daly after Saturday's round at the PODS Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla. (heavy drinking in public, an obscene gesture). That triggered a Tuesday breakup between Daly and his swing coach, Butch Harmon, who agreed to tutor Daly only if the former PGA champ (1991) and British Open champ (1995) curtailed his penchant for off-course incidents. On Wednesday, Daly missed the tee time for his pro-am round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Fla. and was disqualified from the tournament.
Daly had been given a sponsor's exemption into Palmer's event, just as he has received sponsor's exemptions to compete at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship (April 24-27) and the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial (May 22-25).
After his Wednesday disqualification, Daly discussed his recent travails with a reporter from the Golf Channel. Here are some highlights from that session:
On his disqualification: "I was (at the course) when (tour official) Mark Russell said I missed my tee time. I said, 'No, I was supposed to go off at 9:47 (a.m.).' He said, 'No, you were at 8:40 (a.m.).' I said, 'That is kind of weird because we called the tournament yesterday ... and (9:47 a.m.) was the time the lady gave us.' ... So we didn't even think about calling back. So that's cool. No big deal. It is just unfortunate that stuff like this (miscommunication) happens. I feel bad for Arnold because he gave me the spot. (It's the) first time in 17 or 18 years that I have ever missed a tee time. I feel responsible for it but I just feel bad this had to happen with all of the other crap going on in my life ... I've got to take the responsibility. I should have checked my time again."
On reports of his breakup with Harmon, which Harmon has confirmed: "I haven't seen the articles. I didn't watch the Golf Channel (on Tuesday, when the report surfaced). But Butch didn't call to let me know. I just texted Butch to say, 'I just wish you would have called me,' that's all. I said, 'I love you like a brother. Youre the greatest golf coach, anywhere ...' This is unfortunate. I just wish he would've called me."
On Saturday's events at the PODS Championship: "The tournament director says, 'Do you want to go to the Owl's Nest (a party tent sponsored by Hooters)?' I said, 'Yeah, I am already going because Hooters wants me to be there.' ... This thing about flipping a camera guy off. Well, we may have done it in fun. Half the time I take pictures with guys and they want me to flip the picture off because that is what they want. We were having a good time. Nobody was loud. I thought it was good for the tournament. Hooters loved it. I sat there and ate, had a few beers ... wasn't drunk or anything. I was there for four hours, signing things. It was a good thing. But now it seems like this (reporter) who wrote this article about me flipping off the camera guy, I guess he just doesn't like me. But it wasn't mean or anything. It was fun ... You think you are doing somebody a good thing and somebody just wants to bring it all down. If that is how they want to live, then so be it. I can't live that way."
_ Jimmy Burch