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Withdrawal ends poor year for John Daly

Fan favourite John Daly ended what he described as a "horrible" PGA Tour campaign when he pulled out of the Ginn sur Mer Classic at Port St. Lucie, Florida.

The big-hitting American, who gave no reason for his withdrawal before the start of the rain-delayed fourth round, is not playing in next week's season-ending Walt Disney Classic.

"I didn't get an exemption for the Disney," Daly told reporters at Tesoro Club before pulling out of a Tour event for the sixth time this year.

Sponsor's exemptions for next week's tournament have been given to 2000 champion Duffy Waldorf, Lee Janzen, Jay Williamson and 16-year-old Hawaiian Tadd Fujikawa.

Daly, who began this year's Tour without full playing privileges for the first time since 1991, is banking on plenty of help from tournament sponsors for next year.

"I feel pretty confident for the West Coast (events)," said the 41-year-old, who has been one of the biggest drawcards in the game since turning professional in 1987.

"I missed so many cuts this year by a shot or two. It could have gone either way in eight or nine tournaments this year, then I wouldn't have to be worrying about this.

"I know I'm close. I kind of wish I had four or five (events) left, to tell you the truth."

In 24 starts this season, Daly has missed 10 cuts while posting only two top-25 finishes.

His best performance in a woeful campaign was a tie for 16th at the Buick Open in July when he was urged on in the final round by his host for the week, American musician Kid Rock.

"The last two (years) have been horrible," the twice major winner said after shooting a third-round 79 at Tesoro that included a quadruple-bogey. "This year it's been the injuries. When I did play, I was so close to shooting good."

A spate of injuries cost Daly dear on the 2006 Tour and he ended his campaign a career-low 193rd in the money list with earnings of $192,134 after just one top-25 finish in 21 starts.

He missed the last two events after breaking a finger in the opening round of the Las Vegas Championship in mid-October, a few days before he filed for divorce from his fourth wife.

This season, he has experienced difficulty on and off the course.

His shoulder came out of its socket in mid-swing during the Honda Classic in April, forcing his withdrawal, and he carded a second-round 74 at the St. Jude Championship in June the day after allegedly being attacked by his wife brandishing a steak knife.

Through it all, though, the support of his fans has lifted his spirits.

"They motivate me like you wouldn't believe," he said. "I feel like I sell a lot of tickets and raise a lot of money for charity, too. So I hope I can keep getting some exemptions and start playing a little better so the fans can enjoy it even more."


October 30, 2007

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