John Daly talked a lot about getting his life together, both inside and outside the ropes, as he prepared for this week’s Stadion Classic at UGA golf tournament. In the end, though, he still has some work to do with the golf part of the equation.
Daly withdrew from the second round of the annual Web.com Tour event on Friday. He cited a shoulder injury. He was 5-over par for the tournament and 2-over for the day when he walked off the golf course after playing the ninth hole. He left without making comment, just as he did after the shooting 3-over first round.
Withdrawals are nothing new for Daly. He has WD’d 36 times on the PGA Tour and this was his third in 29 Wed.com Tour events. He has also been disqualified seven times.
There’s no way of knowing the extent (or valildity) of Daly’s injury, but he hasn’t been playing well at all this year. Including seven PGA Tour events, he has played in 10 tournaments this year but has made the cut in only three. In those he has finished 50th, 53rd and 74th.
“It’s not about the money for me,” Daly said on Wednesday. “It’s about playing good golf. The ultimate goal for me of course is to get back on the (PGA) tour. I just want to play.”
Daly hasn’t played well for a very long time. His last PGA Tour victory came in 2004 and, at this point, his two major championships (1991 PGA Championship, 1995 British Open) seem like ancient history.
Daly turned 47 this past Sunday and ultimately is preparing for a transition to the Champion’s Tour (former known as seniors). But while his golf game is still a daily struggle, he indicated his personal life is better than ever.
Daly, who has struggled with alcohol in the past, said he has been sober for four years. He now has custody of his 9-year-old son, “Little John,” who was not with Daly this week but normally travels with him in his RV.
“The sum of my career is a four-letter word, L-I-F-E. Life,” Daly said with a chuckle. “That about sums it up. Everybody goes through ups and downs through their life. It’s how we cope with them, how we deal with them. I’m not on the tour now full-status, but I feel like I’ve come an awful long way outside the ropes. . . . So I’m pretty proud of what I’ve accomplished -- not in golf, but in life.”
Daly’s departure meant a bunch of extra parking in the lot next to the driving range on the UGA Golf Course property. Organizers let him park there for security reasons.
Daly’s trip to Athens – he arrived on Monday – was not his first to the Classic City. He said he came to UGA in the early 1980s.
“I was recruited to come play golf for Georgia back in 1983 or ’84,” Daly said. “It’s a good little town.”