What goes through John Daly's mind?
Last May, at the Kemper Open in Potomac, Md., Daly refused to sign his scorecard after shooting a first-round 77. He was disqualified.
On Aug. 22, during a clinic at the Fred Meyer Challenge near Portland, Ore., Daly hit a drive in the opposite direction of the fairway, directly over the heads of a suddenly ashen-faced gallery. "I can't believe he did that," said Arnold Palmer upon hearing of the incident. "It was ridiculous. He could have killed someone."
In late September, during the second round of the Southern Open in Pine Mountain, Ga., Daly made the turn in 43 and walked off the course without telling his partners he was quitting.
November 15, 1993
So when Daly picked up his ball and pocketed it last Friday during the Kapalua International on Maui, PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman had seen enough. Instead of holing out after narrowly missing a putt for par on the 11th hole, Daly knocked his ball away from the cup, then picked it up and actually teed off on the 12th, which disqualified him immediately. Beman suspended Daly for the rest of the 1993 Tour and into '94 without saying when the suspension will end.
It was the second suspension from the Tour in 11 months for the 27-year-old Daly, a recovering alcoholic. The first came after domestic-violence charges were brought against him last December following an incident at his home in Castle Rock, Colo. He and his wife, Bettye, then moved to Orlando, Fla., but they separated in July and are in the process of divorcing. He lives in Memphis now, while Bettye remains in Florida with their 18-month-old daughter, Shynah.
Beman met with Daly for a while on Sunday in Kapalua. "He needs support, he needs understanding and he needs professional help," said Beman. "John now knows emphatically he can't quit. You can't go out there and walk off the course."
As part of his plea bargain on the Colorado charges, Daly was required to complete a rehab program and agreed to seek professional support. He has stayed in contact with drug and alcohol counselor Thomas (Hollywood) Henderson, the former Dallas Cowboy, whom he met at the Sierra Tucson clinic. "He's been great," Henderson says. "He's very responsible about calling. He calls me weekly from wherever he is in the world."
Though rumors have circulated that Daly is drinking again, Henderson says it can't be true. PGA Tour official John Morris also says there are "no indications" that he is.
Daly has been one of the biggest draws in golf since winning the 1991 PGA Championship. He was scheduled to play in three more PGA Tour events this year: the Shark Shootout, the Skins Game and the JCPenney Classic, all of which he will now miss. He is not suspended, however, from other world events and plans to play in the Mexican Open this week in Mexico City. Beman also can't ban him from any of next season's four majors, since none of them fall under Tour jurisdiction.
"I hate to see this," said Henderson of Daly's most recent episode, "but it's just one more lesson he's got to learn. We don't drink. We don't jump off buildings. And we don't pick up the ball in the middle of PGA tournaments."