Daly Wants Australian Incident Behind Him

John Daly talked to reporters from the site of his next tournament, the Hong Kong Open. The European Tour event starts Thursday at Hong Kong Golf Club.

The 45-year-old's last tournament appearance wasn't a good one. While playing the 11th hole at the Lakes Golf Club during the Australian Open in Sydney, Daly ran out of golf balls after hitting his last six into a water hazard. After shaking hands with his playing partners, Craig Parry and Hunter Mahan and explaining his predicament to a tournament official, Daly left the course and walked to the parking lot.

On the prior hole, Daly received a two-stroke penalty after hitting the wrong ball out of a greenside bunker. Instead of carding a par three, he took a quadruple-bogey seven. Afterwards, officials fined him an undisclosed sum and revoked his entry in last weekend's Australian PGA Championship.

That disqualification was only the latest in a series of questionable incidents of Daly's while playing Down Under. In 2008, he smashed a spectator's camera at the Australian Open and drew considerable flak for it. Then last year in the Australian PGA he backhanded a putt - missing it - and drew more criticism for what was perceived as a cavalier attitude.

"I accept if you look at my past competing in Australia that the way I was treated was not harsh, but if they were to have looked at really what went on at the 10th hole then it was harsh," Daly told reporters in Hong Kong.

"I had found the bunker with my tee shot and then when I got up there I hit a great bunker shot, and when I threw my caddie the ball to wipe it, I find it's not my ball. Then on the 11th it was my ego that got in the way and I thought we had plenty of golf balls.

"But the question I keep asking is what were range balls doing in the bunkers out on the championship golf course? When I got to the bunker I thought it was my ball. I'm using Srixon balls and the balls on the range were also Srixon.

"Everybody complimented me saying 'great shot,' but when I get up there my caddie wiped the ball and threw it back to me but it wasn't my ball. So I go from making three there on that hole to a seven."

Daly also denied that he "stormed" off the course after running out of golf balls on the 11th. TV coverage shows him shaking hands with Parry and Mahan. "I shook hands with Craig and Hunter and said that I've run out of balls, and I said that also to an official and he said to me that is was unfortunate," Daly added.

"But what hurts me is that it was then reported I stormed off. Well, I never stormed off. I just walked back to the clubhouse."

Daly said that he hasn't been "banned" from tournaments in Australia as a result of these past incidents. "I didn't get banned from Australia but I really don't know what is going to happen in the future," he said. "There has been some talk after Craig Parry settled the matter down a bit, saying I didn't do anything stupid and if it was him, he would have done the same thing.

"I've looked at my past in Australia and I got upset with an official one year. Last year at the Australian PGA I was 8-over par and I backhanded a putt, like we all do, and it popped out of the hole and I looked like a jerk then.

"Then there was that guy with the camera in Sydney, but then Robert Allenby didn't do me any favors. He defended me saying I did the right thing but then when he speaks to the press he says exactly the opposite.

"I wouldn't have been so mad with that spectator with the camera but he was right in my face and cut my nose slightly with his camera. But that guy had been warned all round long and the officials did nothing about him."

Daly is hoping that his Australian experiences will eventually be forgotten. "I feel as though I still have much to offer in this game. I will keep plugging along," he told reporters.