Wednesday Dec. 10, 2008
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) — John Daly smashed a spectator's camera into a tree while shooting a 6-over 78 in the first round of the Australian Open on Thursday, making it unlikely he will make the cut for the third consecutive week Down Under.
After pushing his tee shot wide on the ninth hole — his last — Daly walked into a clump of trees, where a spectator Brad Clegg tried to take a picture at close range.
Daly reportedly snatched the camera and smashed it against the nearest tree, telling the man "you want it back, I'll buy you a new one".
Asked if he would seek compensation, Clegg told the Australian Associated Press: "I don't think I'll be chasing him for the money. He's a big bloke!"
Daly, who missed the cut at both the Australian Masters and the PGA in the last two weeks and is being paid an appearance fee for his three-tournament trip Down Under, had three double-bogeys, three bogeys and four birdies.
Clegg said he did not think he'd provoked Daly by going so close. "I was bold but I wasn't unreasonable," he said. It was Daly's first visit to Australia since 2002, when he left in controversial circumstances.
After taking a triple-bogey 7 on his last hole at the Australian PGA at Coolum, Queensland, that year, Daly threw his putter and ball into a greenside pond and later failed to sign for a 78 on his scorecard, disqualifying himself from a tournament.
Daly was later fined $5,600 by the Australasian PGA Tour and was ordered to write a letter of apology to a tour official he verbally abused, and to Parry and his other playing partner, Greg Norman.
He was in Australia trying to finish a difficult year on a positive note. He spent a night in jail on Oct. 27 after being found "extremely intoxicated and uncooperative," police said, outside a restaurant in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Daly hasn't had a PGA Tour card since 2006, when his two-year exemption expired from his last victory at the Buick Invitational in 2004. He made only five cuts in 17 starts on the PGA Tour this year and earned $56,000.
His only bright spot in the past month was a final-round 62 at the Hong Kong Open, enabling him to finish tied for 17th.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.