Daly a No-Show at Bay Hill Pro-Am


2007 Arnold Palmer InvitationalORLANDO, Fla. -- John Daly woke up Wednesday morning to read that swing coach Butch Harmon fired him. Then he got a phone call when he was at the entrance to Bay Hill letting him know he had been kicked out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational for missing the pro-am.
Hasnt been a good day, Daly told The Associated Press. This is the last thing I needed in my life. I feel like I let Arnold down.
The wild ride of golfs most unpredictable figure took another hairpin turn when Daly said he was given wrong information that caused him to miss his tee time, starting a bizarre chain reaction that knocked out two other players from the tournament.
The tour has a policy that anyone missing the pro-am is ineligible to play in the tournament.
Daly, who received a sponsors exemption, played a Monday pro-am at Bay Hill and said he was asked to play the Wednesday pro-am, too. He requested a morning start, then called Tuesday to find out his tee time. A woman in the tournament office told him 9:47 a.m., which instead was his starting time for the first round.
I didnt even know that was my Thursday tee time, Daly said. I should have looked into it. It stinks for me. I want to do anything I can for the tournament as a sponsor exemption. I wanted to meet the people I was playing with in the pro-am. I love Arnold Palmer to death. I called and talked to him and apologized.
And the thing that upsets me is I cost Nick OHern and Ryuji Imada, so now I got these guys mad at me, too.
Imada and OHern were alternates for the pro-am, and both thought they were assigned to the afternoon group. Instead, they were the first two names called when Daly didnt show, and when neither was around, they also were disqualified from the $5.8 million event.
OHern lives only five minutes away at Isleworth and was furious to learn he would not be eligible.
When I should have been on the tee, I was giving my girls breakfast, OHern said. I thought common sense would have prevailed. This is a tough one to take. Unfortunately, we got caught up in Johns snowball effect.
The snowball is starting to look like an avalanche.
Daly lost his full PGA Tour card two years ago and relies mainly on sponsor exemptions. In seven events this year, he has missed the cut three times and withdrew from the Bob Hope Classic, where he was spotted at several after-hour parties.
His best finish was a tie for 60th in Mexico, an opposite-field event.
,The Bay Hill mix-up comes one day after Harmon, one golfs most renowned swing coaches, said he was done working with Daly because the two-time major champion appeared more interested in drinking than working on his game.
My whole goal for him was hes got to show me golf is the most important thing in his life, Harmon said. And the most important thing in his life is getting drunk.
Harmon said Dalys behavior last week at the PODS Championship was enough to end the short-lived relationship.
Daly spent a 2 1/2 -hour rain delay during the first round in a Hooters corporate tent behind the 17th green at Innisbrook. He was 3 over, and when play resumed, he had Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden caddie for him the rest of the day. After missing the cut with rounds of 77-80, Daly spent Saturday at the Hooters Owls Nest next to the 17th hole, drinking beer, mingling with fans and signing autographs, including one on the back of a womans pants.
I just wish Butch had called me before getting slapped in the face, Daly said. I love Butch to death. I still think hes the greatest coach out there. I just told him, Dont always believe what you read in the paper. I texted him, All I wish youd done is call me. It was a shock to me.
As for his escapade at the Owls Nest?
Daly said he thought he was doing the tournament a favor by drumming up business at the raucous tent.
I signed about a thousand hats, Daly said. I love Hooters. I had a few beers and some chicken wings. It was Saturday. I wasnt even playing in the tournament.
Daly has been on a downward spiral since losing a playoff to Tiger Woods in 2005 at Harding Park in a World Golf Championship event. He injured his ribs last year at the Honda Classic when he tried to stop his powerful swing upon hearing the click of a fans camera, and Daly recently said he was contemplating a lawsuit against the tournament, which gave him a sponsors exemption.
My life is upside-down right now, Daly said. No matter what I do, its wrong. Im thinking of writing a new song. Ill call it, I guess its my fault, even when its not my fault.
Daly said he played Tuesday at a nearby course with Robert Gamez, who helped sort out his putting problems.
I was looking forward to a great week, Daly said. Ive always had great success at Bay Hill. I usually dont ever miss the cut. I called Arnold, and said he feels just as bad about it. I saw him Monday and he gave me a big ol hug and said, Thanks for being here.
Success at Bay Hill is in the eye of the Wild Thing.
Daly has played 14 times at Palmers event, and his best finish is a tie for 10th. He has missed the cut three times, and four times shot in the 80s in the final round. One of those scores came in 1998, when Daly hit six balls in the water on the par-5 sixth and made an 18.
I hope things get better, Phil Mickelson said. I think we all do.

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  • Full Coverage - Arnold Palmer Invitational
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