It's hard to fathom that John Daly could overshadow this Australian Open, what with its eye-popping course, star-studded field, quality leaderboard and huge fan turnout. But the actions suggest this might finally be the time Daly is retired from the sponsor-invite circuit.
With arm extended to his caddie after every shot, Daly began firing from approximately 230 yards until he was finally out of golf balls. Each shot became progressively worse, coming up 30 yards short and missing wide right by the same distance, Daly was 15 total strokes into the hole when he ripped the Velcro on his glove and walked to playing partners Hunter Mahan and Craig Parry, before leaving the course with 8-year-old son Patrick by his side.
"Once I saw two go in, I think the effort went down pretty fast," Mahan said.
As usual, when the going got tough, John Daly gave up.
On the next hole, he pumped seven balls into the water — meaning he would have been hitting his 16th shot had he continued. The last ball he hit had no chance of finding land. Daly hit it into the middle of the lake.
And then he walked off, though he stopped to shake hands with his playing partners, Craig Parry and Hunter Mahan. Daly’s girlfriend later got into a pushing match with a photographer in the parking lot.
Mahan said he wouldn't think to act as Daly did. “It must be pretty freeing to do that; to say, 'I’m out and I’m going to get rid of these balls as well,'” he said. “. . . It's not the most respectful thing to do.”
It's just another notch in a golf rap sheet that would be nearly impossible to list for Daly, who has been fined repeatedly. A PGA Tour personnel file for Daly that was released in 2010 as part of a lawsuit showed that he had been cited 11 times for "conduct unbecoming a professional,'' as well as 21 times for "failure to give best effort.''
He nailed both this time.
In his past eight tournaments, Daly, 45, has now withdrawn three times and missed four cuts. He has not finished among the top 125 money winners on the PGA Tour since 2005 and his best performance since then was 187th this year.
In the last decade, he's withdrawn from more than two dozen tournaments on the PGA Tour.