December 10, 2008
We don't go out of our way to find stories that make John Daly look bad. Really, I swear. They just kind of drop in our laps, like this newest one: in Australia on Thursday, Daly didn't exactly take kindly to being photographed. Daly, finishing out an ugly 6-over 78 at the Australian Open that likely took him out of cut contention, grabbed the guy's camera and smashed it into a tree.
Now, this is very much a he-snapped/he-snapped situation; it's easy to see Daly's side of things here. You play like garbage, the last thing you want to deal with is some Aussie paparazzi-wannabe shoving his little digital camera in your face. "I was looking to take a drop and a camera was 6 inches away from my face," Daly said in a statement after the round. "If I was 10 under, I would have felt the same," Daly said. "My eyes are still burning from the flash of the camera ... I feel it was very rude to put a camera that close to somebody’s face in any situation. The guy that had the camera had already taken a dozen shots at close range."
Down Under and Daly don't exactly get along. In 2002, he threw his putter and ball into a greenside lake after finishing out a seven-over final round at the Australian PGA, then stormed off without signing his card. He was fined $5,600 -- in Daly terms, about 980 Hooters' Stacked Wing platters -- and ordered to apologize to a whole buncha folks.
To a great extent, Daly's a victim of his chosen profession. An NBA player who smashed a camera against a wall wouldn't rate a mention in the first 30 minutes of SportsCenter. Shoot, in the last week alone the NFL has seen self-inflicted gunshot wounds and full frontal nudity; a simple camera-smash would probably get a thank-you note from the commissioner's office.
But Daly plays golf, where a club angrily returned to a bag is a cause for a reprimand. So it's bad luck for him. That, and the fact that he has a bit of trouble with, you know, basic sports self-control.
The only upside to all this is that we're probably about one season away from Daly doing a full-on bodyslam of some smarmy golfer. It's gonna happen, you know it.