Infuriated Australasian tour officials, calling Daly’s actions unprofessional, responded immediately by banning the controversial American from playing in the Australian PGA in two weeks.
It started on the short par-4 10th when Daly tried to drive the green. He thought his ball was in the front bunker, but after blasting out to about 4 feet, he realized he had hit a practice ball from the adjacent range. That’s when he was told his ball was in the back bunker, and with a penalty shot and a three-putt, he wound up with a triple bogey that left him 7 over for the round.
Daly was annoyed, then hit his second on the par-5 11th into the water. Then he hit another into the lake. And another. And another. The final tally was seven balls, and it might have been more except that he had none left in his bag.
Daly turned over his scorecard to Hunter Mahan and Craig Parry and walked off the course. Daly later said on Twitter, “when u run out of balls u run out of balls. yes, I shook my player’s partners hands & signed my card w/rules official.”
He would have been up to a total of 16 strokes on the 11th hole if he had continued.
“Once I saw two go in, I think the effort went down pretty fast,” Mahan said. “It doesn’t do anyone any good for John to do what he did. It’s unfortunate, J.D. is a pleasant guy.”
Trevor Herden, Golf Australia’s director of tournaments, called Daly’s actions “unprofessional” and said action needed to be taken against him. And Herden said running out of balls was no excuse for walking off the course.
“If you run out of golf balls, and you are acting in a professional manner, you will call a rules official and we will get the type of ball he is playing with and replenish his stock,” Herden said. “We can do that. For him to treat it as ‘that’s it’ and ‘see you later’, that’s not good enough.”
“I believe he has gone down 11, hitting five or six balls in the water _ I am not exactly sure,” Herden said. “Anyway, he walks right off the golf course, with his son behind him, got in the courtesy car and went straight back to his hotel.”
“It is very disappointing for the tournament … that he has treated the championship this way,” Herden said. “It is a bit of a habit, but it is unacceptable and I certainly hope all the tours deal with it in an appropriate manner this time.”