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What the heck just happened to John Daly?

It was just two weeks ago that he was cruising through the British Open, looking strong and posting a solid score. I've always been among those who love to hear about his exploits but deep down really hope the guy gets it together, and it seemed we were at that point.

And then came the Buick Open, and everything fell apart. On Friday, he shot his worst score ever in a PGA Tour event, carding an 88. 88! His back-nine round was one of the ugliest in recent Tour history; he started with a quintuple-bogey 10 on the tenth hole of his round and ended up finishing sixteen over par. His hands had all the touch of cinderblocks as he putted, and as the AP noted, he offered up this assessment of his round:

"The last two weeks have been the first time in my career I didn't think I could win," Daly said. "I don't have the feel I used to have. I don't have the confidence. I just don't have it. I tried my (tail) off and shot 88. I've thrown in the towel and shot 82 when I quit. But I didn't quit this time. It was a weird feeling."

After Daly's round, reader Ben Light of Columbus, Ohio emailed the ol' Devil Ball mailbag with this idea:

On Monday (or some day next week), put the hole locations and tee boxes back to where they were on Friday and charge people for a chance to put up a number lower than Daly's 51. I would guess there are plenty of golfers who would put down some money for the chance to say they scored better than John Daly. You could make it a fundraiser for a non-profit and everybody wins.

Well, everybody but Daly, whose ego would be even further crushed than it is now, if that's possible. The AP recounted the story of Daly's swing coach, Rick Smith, who looked upon Daly's Friday round this way:

"I saw a guy I didn't know existed," Smith said. "What I saw today was scary. It was a literal disconnect. He hasn't eaten or slept in a week. His body needs food, and it's going to the muscle, and the muscle is breaking down to the point he's in a toxic state."

Daly has lost an estimated 80 pounds, and while everybody is celebrating the "new" Daly with his wacky pants, maybe we ought to think about how he got to this point. He's consulting with a doctor now to determine whether he should play in the PGA Championship, and for his own sake, I hope he follows the doctor's advice, whatever it is. I love the out-of-control Daly and I appreciate the settled-down Daly, but no matter what, I just want Daly to stay in the game.

Daly losing feel in hands, confidence in game [AP via Yahoo! Sports]

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