Contrite Daly apologizes for U.S. Open outburst

  John Daly doesn't consider the U.S. Open a major anymore.
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Wednesday, Jun. 23
Daly snaps at USGA over Pinehurst's conditions

ESPN Golf Online staff

PINEHURST, N.C. -- Well before the leaders teed off for the final round of the U.S. Open, Pinehurst No. 2 claimed its first victim Sunday.

 John Daly
John Daly was beyond disgusted on the eighth hole.
John Daly erupted by taking a two-stroke penalty for hitting his golf ball while it was still moving. He carded an 11 on the par-4 eighth hole en route to a 13-over 83. Afterward, he left the course in a huff, claiming he had taken the penalty on purpose as a protest against the USGA placing so many precarious pins on Pinehurst No. 2's mounded greens.

Daly smacked his ball as it was rolling back toward him on the back side of the eighth green. His previous two putts up the banked fringe had reached the green and been fairly close to the hole, but they didn't hold on the crown.

On the second of those, Daly, walking quickly up the hill to meet the ball as it trickled back down, swung at it haphazardly, sending it skittering across and off the green and back into the fairway. From there he chipped onto the green, 20 feet from the hole. His first putt went 10 feet past, and he two-putted from there.

"Yeah, it was frustrating and I lost my patience," he told NBC-TV after signing his scorecard. "But they have too many unfair pins. It's frustrating. The U.S. Open is not John Daly's style of golf. I'm not going to Pebble Beach (where the U.S. Open will be held) next year and watch the USGA ruin that golf course, too."

Daly stalked past a group of reporters after his quick NBC interview, but he was surrounded by them as he waited for his courtesy car outside the clubhouse. At that point he reiterated that he would stop playing U.S. Opens and said he had taken the two-stroke penalty "to stand up for the guys," his fellow players, in regards to unfair pin placements.

Tom Kite, Daly's playing partner, said he didn't interpret the gesture that way. Kite indicated Daly had merely lost it in the heat of the moment.

"People have different breaking points," said a diplomatic Kite. "Everybody does, and John just reached his."

  I've had it with the USGA and the way they run their tournaments. The USGA loves to embarrass guys who play in their tournaments. ”
—  John Daly
Not only will Daly skip Pebble Beach, but he told reporters he will never play another U.S. Open.

"It's not worth it. This is my last U.S. Open -- ever," Daly said. "I've had it with the USGA and the way they run their tournaments. The USGA loves to embarrass guys who play in their tournaments."

Daly, a former PGA Championship and British Open winner who has battled alcoholism and other publicized personal problems, had stunned everyone with a 2-under 68 in the first round. He was only one stroke out of the lead Thursday night and feeling chipper after having played poorly the previous two months.

But he had also sounded a warning after that round, saying he wasn't sure which John Daly would show up the next day. The one that did shot a 77 as course conditions toughened Friday. It was good enough to make the cut, but he followed with an 81 Saturday and 83 on Sunday.

"I don't mind hitting the ball bad, but when I feel like I've hit the ball pretty good for four days and shoot an 81, it's not golf," he said. "It's crazy. My hat's off to whoever wins, and it's a major, but ... I don't consider the U.S. Open a major anymore."

His total of 29-over 309 put him last of the 68 players who made the cut. His earnings were $7,543.

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