Menu

MORESPORTS

Daly needs to take a long break

C'mon, big fella. Is you is or is you ain't retiring from golf?

It said here Friday afternoon that you ain't.

A few hours later, Daly proved me right. Who didn't know that?

Daly was at least honest enough late Friday to let his fans know on his Twitter account that it's all about the money for him. Again, who didn't know that?

"My financial situation is putting me where I cannot focus on my game, I'm putting too much pressure on myself," he wrote.

"The few sponsors that I have are great but it's not getting me thru these times.

"I don't like to continue to embarass myself -- maybe my mind may change down the road but right now I don't have the money to be on the tour."

Then came the clincher: "Never said retirement in anything or twitter -- I want to correct that! Simply sayin' I need my time & working through these bad times."

One of his main sponsors, Larry Johnson of Loudmouth Golf, said Saturday that Daly was "an emotional guy" and would be back in two weeks for the AT&T at Pebble Beach.

But taking more than a week off won't help. Daly needs to step away from golf for a lot longer than a week. It would certainly be the honorable thing to do, the decent thing, to stop taking away places in fields that belong to hungry, deserving professionals.

And going away would at least let Daly see, in a peaceful moment, far away from the Hooters groupies and the greasy-haired cigar-chomping jackasses and the beer-swilling rednecks who mob him, if he might just find that magic in his hands again.

Because when he had it, when he was John Daly, man, was he a sight to behold. Sure, he could drive it into another ZIP code but what was really special was his touch around and on the greens. That's what won him two majors, not just the long drives.

Sadly, he lost that feel long ago. Maybe it was always destined to be given his lifestyle. His hands now are numb. Watch him putt, if you can bear to. He's either six feet short or eight feet long. Those soft pitches of a decade ago have deserted him, too. On Thursday at Torrey Pines, he bladed a straightforward bunker shot into the stands, like an 18 handicapper.

And I don't even want to go into what I watched him do last year at the final Buick Open when he threw an 88 at one of the easiest courses on the PGA Tour. No professional with a heart and an ounce of self-respect would've slapped it around like that, but Daly didn't care. He'd given up, as he has many times before when the going gets tough.

So, yeah, the truth is that it should be over for him, at least in the immediate future. But it won't be.

Just like it wasn't over for Iron Mike. Not even after Lennox Lewis wrote a requiem for a heavyweight in Tyson's own blood that night in Memphis, Tenn.

Like Tyson, who climbed into the ring when his heart wasn't in it just for a paycheck, Daly's going to come back because he's got a nut to crack at the first of each month.

Daly's got a good heart and many friends on the Tour. I certainly don't wish him ill but this dog and pony show needs to end.

It might even be for his own good because God knows his judgment's about as bad as they come. If John Daly comes to a fork in the road, bet the house on him choosing the wrong path. Whether it's gambling or women or booze, it's never been the right choice.

What I'm hoping, though, is that this isn't just a publicity stunt to beef up ratings for his Golf Channel reality show, "Being John Daly." Which, by the way, is different from his previous reality show of a few years ago, exactly how? Aside from the fact that he now has more ex-wives and bigger monthly alimony and child support payments?

This all began when Daly exited stage left from Torrey Pines on Friday -- shooting 79, 71 to miss the cut -- with his tail between his Loudmouth Golf pants. One of the camera crews from his reality show stopped him, at which point the despondent Daly announced it was all over.

"What's next?" he was asked.

"I'm done," Daly replied.

"What do you mean you're done?"

"I'm done."

"Done with what?"

"Golf."

Daly went on to say that he can no longer compete on the PGA Tour.

"Just can't play like I used to," he said.

"I can't keep taking spots from guys out here playing this bad. It's not worth it."

His fans, the Golf Channel producer asserted, want Daly to continue but the two-time major champion said that he was "tired of embarrassing myself in front of them."

And that's a painful truth. He hasn't won a tournament on the PGA Tour in six years. His role nowadays is to wear outrageous clothes, have people marvel at the 100 pounds he's lost since having his stomach stapled, smoke Marlboro Lights, drink beer and wave to his fans while he misses cuts.

He's buried so deep in the world rankings it'd take an archeologist to dig him out. He only gets into events because he's invited to play on sponsors' exemptions to drum up a bit of crowd interest in a sport that needs all the publicity it can get with Tiger Woods away living a nightmare.

So, let's be honest, JD, you haven't been a real golfer for at least five years. You're a sideshow, a good time Charlie who's been willing to sell himself to the highest bidder and scrape together every buck you can in order to pay for your past sins.

Maybe it's best for everyone if you get off the merry-go-round?