Daly snaps at USGA over Pinehurst's conditions

Wednesday, Jun. 23
Daly apologizes for U.S. Open outburst

Associated Press

MANLIUS, N.Y. -- John Daly has a simple wish for his complicated life.

"I just want to try and stay out of trouble," golf's longest hitter said. "That would be nice."

Daly was in trouble again over the weekend at the U.S. Open. He finished last and made no secret of his unhappiness.

"This is my last U.S. Open -- ever," Daly said as he walked to his car after a 13-over-par 83 on Sunday. "I've had it with the USGA and the way they run their tournaments."

On Tuesday, he apologized during an appearance at a charity event in suburban Syracuse.

"I don't know what happened. It was just the heat of the moment, coming off a bad round," Daly said during a skins game competition. "I was just upset at my performance. I made some stupid comments. It doesn't get you popularity what I said the other day, but I sure hope the USGA will forgive me for it. It was stupid."

Despite his outburst, Daly said he hadn't ruled out playing in next year's Open at Pebble Beach.

"My game, I don't feel, has the patience maybe for the U.S. Open," he said. "But if the fans want me to play at Pebble, it will give me a bigger reason to play because I don't think it'll be a tournament that I'll go in thinking I can win."

Daly, who has battled alcoholism and a gambling problem, shot a first-round 68 last Thursday and was one shot off the U.S. Open lead. That prompted him to entertain the media with wit and humor.

But the charm wore off after Saturday's third round, when Daly carded an 81 -- his second straight Open collapse. Last year at The Olympic Club, Daly began with a 69, only to shoot 75, 75 and 78 to finish in a tie for 53rd.

Daly declined to talk to the media after his third-round disaster at Pinehurst No. 2, making a quick stop in the locker room and speeding off in his car.

The frustration peaked at No. 8 on Sunday. After a monsterous 340-yard drive on the par-4, 485-yard hole, Daly's second shot landed to the left of the green in one of the course's dreaded swales. He tried twice to putt the ball close to the flag, only to have it stop short and roll back toward his feet both times.

With the ball still rolling after his fourth shot, Daly took a swipe and sent it rocketing over the green. That counted as another stroke, plus a two-shot penalty. He finally put the ball on the green with his eighth shot, then three-putted for an 11.

It was the culmination of a dismal streak that Daly would rather forget. In his last nine starts on Tour, he has missed the cut three times, withdrawn three times, and his best finish is a tie for 51st.

"Golf has been very frustrating this year," he said. "It was not just the Open. I think it was nine weeks ready to explode. The good news is, it's about golf right now. I'm still struggling day to day, but at least I know the most worries are still sobriety and then golf. It's not all the other stuff that I usually go through.

"It's actually more of a struggle now than it was when I was drinking," he said. "I'm learning how to live again. I'm learning actually how to get a feel for the game again."

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