Get serious

The Baltimore Sun

For a big fella, that John Daly really gets around.

Just two days ago, I was writing about Daly's weekend and how it seemed like he was headed in a real bad direction from the way things went on the Florida Gulf Coast. He had failed to make a cut again this year, was hanging out drinking beer at a place called the Hooters Owl's Nest off the 17th hole and then burned some time at the Philadelphia Phillies' spring training camp when he could have been working on his short game.

I caught some heat from Daly fans whose basic message was: Lighten up and get off the guy's case.

My thought: Do these people realize that he has been in rehab? What's an innocent cool brew for most folks is poison for this man.

Then, quicker than a tee shot hooking into the deep woods, the Daly show went from bad to worse.

Butch Harmon - the golf swing coach whose clients have included a Tiger and a Shark (Woods and Greg Norman) - said he had had enough of Daly's act, since the guy obviously wasn't serious about fixing his game.

Then, as if the golf gods decided to teach Daly a lesson, a mix-up on the tee time for a pro-am yesterday left Daly disqualified from the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Fla. It's bad enough that Daly is getting by these days on the largesse of sponsor exemptions; now he can't even manage to do the one thing he does seem to be good at - charm the fans. (That's what pro-ams are all about, right?)

In Daly's defense, the report on the missed pro-am goes along these lines: Daly called for his tee time and was apparently given a 9:47 a.m. start - but that was for today's real first round. The start for the pro-am yesterday was 8:40 a.m.

Not only did Daly miss the pro-am tee time and get DQ'd from the Palmer, but two other golfers, who were alternates, were also disqualified because Daly's situation created a chain reaction of substitutions and they thought they were scheduled for the afternoon rather than the morning.

This, folks, is mighty evil mojo at work against Daly - much of it of his own making - but with a dollop of plain weirdness mixed in.

To any Daly fans out there, I'm not picking on the guy.

Let's face it, he's one of those less-than-perfect physical specimens with whom average folks can identify. I mean, Tiger Woods is perfect, Tom Brady is perfect. I can admire and be awed by those athletes but not necessarily identify with them.

Daly's marriages have gone south in a very public way. He has gambled away way too much money. His personal problems, like his tee shots, have been super-sized. But we've all had our slips, so if a guy can overcome his problems, we can usually muster some support, right?

In an article on ESPN.com yesterday, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem was articulating Daly's obvious fan appeal and referred to the struggling golfer's "blue collar" image.

Well, it's time for Daly to act a little more blue collar. Pick up the lunch pail and go to work.

Honestly, I'm rooting for him to do it.

bill.ordine@baltsun.com

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