Daly tees up new drive, joins rehab Ex-PGA champ cites alcohol woes


John Daly announced yesterday that he was checking himself into a rehabilitation center for an alcohol-related problem, and he has withdrawn from the Pro Stakes Golf Championship at Dove Canyon Country Club near Rancho Santa Margarita on Saturday and Sunday.

A replacement for Daly, the winner of the PGA Championship in 1991, is expected to be announced today, said Dave Williams, the president of SPO Productions, which is organizing the event. Peter Jacobsen, Fuzzy Zoeller and Craig Stadler are the other three scheduled to compete.

Daly, 26, was arrested in Castle Rock, Colo., last Wednesday for third-degree assault. Authorities said he had been drinking in the early hours of Dec. 20 when an argument broke out with his wife, Bettye. She was thrown against a wall and much of the interior of the home was destroyed.

"I deeply regret the incident at my home over the holidays," Daly said in a statement released by the PGA Tour in Ponte Vedra, Fla. "My first priority is to create the kind of home atmosphere for my family that we all want.

"I realize the importance of seeking professional help and, therefore, I will pursue counseling immediately for an alcohol-related problem. I will check into an alcohol-rehabilitation facility and will return to tournament play only when I'm comfortable that my life is in order."

Daly has admitted to drinking as much as a fifth of Jack Daniels a day for months at a time, though not since June 1990. He said he has consumed only beer since then.

"I sincerely apologize to the PGA Tour, the tournament sponsors and particularly my fans for not being able to honor my commitments," his statement said.

Daly is expected to miss at least the first two months of the 1993 PGA Tour season.

The rehabilitation center has not been identified.

"We all wish John the best in solving what is clearly a difficult situation for him and his family, and we hope a successful rehabilitation will lead to a return to the tour," PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman said in a prepared statement.

Largely unknown, Daly gained instant fame by winning the PGA Championship in Indianapolis in 1991. He was renowned for his rapport with the galleries and his prodigious tee shots that often measured well in excess of 300 yards.

"John has addressed a personal problem and is entering into a rehabilitation facility today," Williams said. "We personally believe what comes first is that John addresses his situation. We're sorry that John's not going to be there [Saturday]."

Daly's agent, John Mascatello, the president of Cambridge International Sports in Washington, D.C., declined to be interviewed, referring queries to the PGA Tour.

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