You knew it couldn’t last.
John Daly fell off the good behavior wagon Wednesday at the Australian Open, snatching a camera from a fan, and flinging it against a tree.
“You want it back, I’ll buy you a new one,” he reportedly said.
Daly was in the midst of six over round of 78, having shot three double-bogeys and four bogeys. Losing his temper after hitting a shot into a clump of trees, Daly snatched the camera when spectator Brad Clegg attempted to get his photo.
There’s no excuse for Daly’s behavior, but I’m surprised that a fan had a camera. Cameras, cell phones and other potentially distracting devices have been forbidden at every PGA Tour event I’ve been to. Perhaps the rules are different in Australia.
Daly hasn’t done well Down Under, having missed the cut at the Australian PGA and the Australian Masters. And barring a miracle, he’ll miss the cut at the Australian Open.
I don’t get the continuing fascination tournament organizers have with Daly. In spite of his poor play and increasingly erratic behavior, Daly continues to play on sponsors exemptions. If not for those, the only way he’d get in an event is by paying for a ticket. Daly hasn’t had a tour card in two years.
And yet, somehow, sponsors believe he’ll help their event. The Australians, for example, are paying him appearance fees in the belief that his presence will increase fan interest.
While this incident surely will increase interest, I don’t think it’s what the Australians had in mind.
There was a time when Daly’s antics elicited sympathy. But he has, with this author at least, destroyed any last residue of good will.