A Sense of Huber: Another Daly Occurrence

By Jim Huber
Published on

On the other side of the world this week, class took a beating.

I have known John Daly since the astonishing moments at Crooked Stick in 1991 when he grabbed the PGA Championship and somehow made it his own. We celebrated his achievement, gaped in amazement at his power, and marveled at what surely was to come.

Marveled ... and cringed.

In the 20 years since that unbelievable week, he has become the poster boy for misunderstanding. In one week he would trash a hotel room and empty his pockets to a fellow pro in need. Very few in our golfing history have ever been as confusing and frustrating as John.

We have pulled for him at every stop, desperately believing that this would be the week when he would control both himself and his magical game.

And we haven't been alone. Promoters, tournament directors, sponsors worldwide have thrown open their doors to him, knowing what a great draw he still is. Some have said "well, people like to see train wrecks" but there is also a very sincere desire to watch redemption at work.

He has taken these invitations because, quite frankly, he hasn't earned his way in. And in taking them, he has shoved other more deserving candidates aside.

It happened again this week at the Australian Open. As young Aussie alternates stood outside, watching, John was given one of the precious few available playing slots.

And in the course of a few ridiculous minutes, he tossed it all aside as he has so many times over the years.

He triple-bogeyed a hole and then, ticked off, sent seven balls sailing into the next hole's water hazard. Out of balls, he bade farewell to his playing partners and stalked off, quitting almost before he began.

He won't be ever asked back, said Trevor Herden, Golf Australia's director of tournaments. "I would say this is the last time we see John Daly."

Add to all of this, John's long-time girl friend shoving a cameraman and JD's young son walking alongside, watching every moment, learning as he went, and perhaps "train wreck" is the proper terminology after all.

It is long past sad. He is a two-time major champion and, according to Herden, deserves some respect. But that has become so tarnished now that it will likely never be restored.

By the way, in case you're wondering, "out of balls" is not an excuse.

"If you run out of balls," Herden said, "and are acting in a professional manner, you can call a rules official and we will get the type of ball you're playing with and replenish your stock. We can do that."

The italics say it all.

For shame.  

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