Daly says PGA Tour has suspended him for six months

By Associated PressDecember 31, 2008, 5:00 pm
John Daly smashed one tee shot off the top of a beer can during a pro-am. At another tournament, he returned from a rain delay with Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden as his caddie. And his most memorable photo this year came in an orange jail suit, eyes half-closed.
 
Daly said Wednesday that such unwelcome publicity is why the PGA Tour suspended him for six months.
 
John Daly
A night in a Raleigh jail, says John Daly, factored largely into his suspension.
The two-time major champion confirmed his suspension to The Associated Press, calling this the low point of an 18-year career during which he has made as much news off the course as he has with his prodigious game.
 
Is it fair that I got suspended? he said. Its not fair in reality, but its probably fair in perception.
 
Daly said he wanted to go public to let fans and tournaments know that he wasnt abandoning them by taking his game to the European Tour. At least until the spring, he simply didnt have much of a choice.
 
Im not sure this is the smartest thing to do, but Id rather be honest, especially with the fans, he said. Its hard for me not to play on the West Coast. I love it out there.
 
PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw declined comment, even after seeing Dalys remarks, citing the Tours longtime policy of not discussing fines or suspensions.
 
This is the second time the Tour has suspended Daly, along with at least two other times when he agreed to sit out the final few months of a season to get his life in order.
 
He has not played on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut Oct. 17 in Las Vegas. Ten days later, police in Winston-Salem, N.C., said he appeared intoxicated outside a Hooters restaurant, and Daly was taken to jail to sleep it off. That led to his photo in the orange jail suit, which became an Internet sensation.
 
Still trying to recover from various injuries, Daly made only five cuts in 17 starts on the Tour, finishing 232nd on the money list. His world ranking has plunged to No. 736.
 
Daly isnt even sure when the suspension began, but he hopes it ends in May. He said PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem sent a letter to his agent, Bud Martin of SFX Sports, who passed along the news.
 
Tim and his staff have to do what they do, Daly said. Truly and honestly, I wish Tim would get to know the facts better before he makes a decision. I would love to sit down and have a nice talk with him, tell him what really happened. But perception is reality in the world, and sometimes they have to do what they have to do.
 
Martin would only say the suspension was to end in the spring, adding it remains confidential with the PGA Tour. He said Daly wants to use 2009 to turn his career around.
 
This is the last negative thing thats been gnawing at him, Martin said. We didnt make any requests for exemptions, and John wanted to be clear with them. He wanted to play in their tournaments, but he cant. He didnt want to let his fans down. He wanted them to know the truth.
 
Daly said he hopes to play well enough to earn sponsor exemptions on the PGA Tour when the suspension is lifted.
 
Johns New Years resolution is do everything he can to make positive things happen on the golf course, Martin said. I hope he can walk the walk. The talk sounds great. But its going to be him working hard and staying out of trouble, and having success on the golf course.
 
Daly became an overnight sensation when he won the 1991 PGA Championship at Crooked Stick as the ninth alternate, introducing his powerful grip it and rip it style to golf. Four years later, he won the British Open at St. Andrews. But his career has been dragged down by two trips to alcohol rehab, four marriages, gambling losses and other off-course episodes that have made him a sideshow to some and a cult figure to others.
 
Asked why he was suspended, Daly pointed to four incidents during the year.
 
After a rain delay at Innisbrook during the Florida swing, he emerged from a hospitality tent with Gruden as his caddie for the final seven holes of the round, prompting a split with swing coach Butch Harmon.
 
My whole goal for him was hes got to show me golf is the most important thing in his life, Harmon said in March. And the most important thing in his life is getting drunk.
 
While promoting a golf course in Missouri, Daly did a regional television interview wearing only blue jeans ' no shirt, no shoes ' while showing how to play one of the holes. Then at the Buick Open, during a pro-am that featured Kid Rock in overalls, Daly revved up the fans by hitting one drive off the top of a beer can.
 
He drew the most attention from the night in jail. Daly told the AP that his friends called police when they feared he had passed out, claiming they were unaware he sleeps with his eyes open when hes had too much to drink. Daly was put in jail under a state law called Assistance to Intoxicated Persons.
 
The picture didnt help, Daly said. People think I got arrested when I didnt get arrested. It is what it is. Ive got to deal with it and go on. Whatever reason the Tour has, maybe a positive will come out of this.
 
CBS Sports analyst David Feherty, a recovering alcoholic, said after the North Carolina arrest he hoped Daly would get help.
 
Hes one of the most generous and one of the kindest souls, Feherty said. The stories of his generosity to the people are legendary. The only person he has ever been unkind to is himself.
 
Daly has played four times overseas since the PGA Tour suspended him, tying for 17th in the Hong Kong Open and missing the cut at all three tournaments he played in Australia. In the Australian Open, he lost his patience with a fan who put a camera in his face during the round, smashing the camera against a tree.
 
This is the lowest Ive ever been, Daly said. Theres always light with me. Right now, my home tour is probably Europe. And I love the European Tour. I always have. But my home is the United States. Thats where I would rather play.
 
Daly said the publicity cost him his endorsements. His only deals are with Focus Golf Systems, which signed a 15-year agreement in 2006 to sell his golf clubs and apparel in Wal-Mart stores; and Fly Emirates, part of a deal that will pay his travel expenses when he plays the Abu Dhabi Championship, Qatar Masters and Dubai Desert Classic in January.
 
This has been the worst year, he said in the New Years Eve interview. One day left.
 
Related Links:
  • Daly detained after drunken Hooters incident
  • Daly: Incident a misunderstanding
  • Appleby: Daly a 'walking train wreck'
  • Video: Daly uses beer can for tee
  • Video: Daly plays golf without shirt, shoes
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    McIlroy (65) one back in Abu Dhabi through 54

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 1:09 pm

    Rory McIlroy moved into position to send a powerful message in his first start of the new year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Closing out with back-to-back birdies Saturday, McIlroy posted a 7-under-par 65, leaving him poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion after a winless year in 2017.

    McIlroy heads into Sunday just a single shot behind the leaders, Thomas Pieters (67) and Ross Fisher (65), who are at 17-under overall at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

    Making his first start after taking three-and-a-half months off to regroup from an injury-riddled year, McIlroy is looking sharp in his bid to win for the first time in 16 months. He chipped in for birdie from 50 feet at the 17th on Saturday and two-putted from 60 feet for another birdie to finish his round.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    McIlroy took 50 holes before making a bogey in Abu Dhabi. He pushed his tee shot into a greenside bunker at the 15th, where he left a delicate play in the bunker, then barely blasted his third out before holing a 15-footer for bogey.

    McIlroy notably opened the tournament playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who started the new year winning the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in an eight-shot rout just two weeks ago. McIlroy was grouped in the first two rounds with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood, the European Tour’s Player of the Year last season. McIlroy sits ahead of both of them going into the final round, with Johnson (68) tied for 12th, four shots back, and Fleetwood (67) tied for fourth, two shots back.

    Those first two rounds left McIlroy feeling good about his off season work.

    “That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent health,” he said going into Saturday. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

    Getty Images

    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation.