Daly said he finally wanted a formal instructor. Harmon didnt say no.
But when Daly finally picked up the phone and called Harmon a couple of weeks ago to schedule time before jetting to Hawaii for the Sony Open, Harmon said, No.
No, not that kind of No. Harmon told Daly he was going to be on vacation. Unspoken here was the message that Butch wants Daly to hear loud and clear: Im only interested in working with you if youre interested in working on golf.
Or as Harmon put it, in his own words, to me: Johns got to take care of himself mentally and physically. Hes assured me that he will.
The 41-year-old Daly, who has won two major championships, does not currently have an all-exempt TOUR card and is playing mostly on sponsors exemptions.
A good dose of reality has set in, Harmon said. The last time I talked to him I told him that Ill give 100 per cent when were together but Ive got to get 100 per cent in return. Otherwise itll be a waste of time. Its time for John to get his butt off the couch and step up to the plate.
If Daly doesnt hook up with Harmon in Las Vegas, he will have to fight for Butchs time at either the Northern Trust Open at Riviera in mid-February or the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson the following week. Those are Harmons next two scheduled appearances on TOUR to work with players.
Thing is, Daly cant be guaranteed of receiving a sponsors exemption to Riviera, although he did shoot 68-69 on the weekend there last year for one of his two top-25 finishes in 2007. Daly wound up 188th on the money list last year, missing 10 cuts and withdrawing six times in the 24 events he entered.
Nor is Daly, who has plummeted to No. 525 in the world rankings, likely to climb into the top 64 prior to Tucson, which means he wont make the field for that event.
In short, Dalys going to have to meet Harmon more than half way. Harmon is a Daly fan and believes he can still win. But a professional relationship between Daly and Harmon, if its going to have any legs at all, will have to happen on Harmons terms.
Can you say: Tough love?
Daly is expected to play in next weeks Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and the Buick Invitational where he is a past champion. His representatives say he is waiting to hear on requests for sponsors exemptions from the FBR Open in Arizona and the Northern Trust Open (Riviera) in California.
Speaking of schedules, Fred Couples will also make his 2008 debut at the Bob Hope Desert Classic. His agent and close friend, Lynn Roach, says Couples back is healthier right now than it has been in a long time.
I expect a very full first part of the year for Fred, said Roach, who listed the Buick Invitational and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am as also being on Couples early schedule.
Couples still works with Harmon who says he still thinks Couples can win on the PGA TOUR at the relatively-advanced age of 48. Freddies doing good work, Harmon said. Hes energized and feeling very good about his back. He seems to be more into it than hes been.
One of the feel good stories at the Sony Open this week is Todd Demsey. Demsey has come back from two brain tumor surgeries. The tumors were benign but brain surgery is anything but easy on the system.
As of now, nothing more needs to be done, said Demsey who underwent an MRI two days after getting his card at last months Q-School. Physically Im 100 per cent.
Demsey will undergo another MRI in five months.
Arron Oberholser, ranked No. 33 in the world, is still recovering from hand surgery late last year. But he says he hopes to return to the TOUR later this month.
I will not, however, Oberholser said through a spokesman this week, start playing again until I am completely ready.
Back problems delayed the start of Oberholsers 2007 campaign. The Oct. 31 surgery was to remove a loose fragment of the hamat bone in his left hand. The operation was deemed a success.
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