Butch Harmon drops John Daly
John Daly has been cut loose by swing coach Butch Harmon, who said Tuesday he was not going to waste his time with a two-time major champion who is more interested in drinking than working on his golf game.
“My whole goal for him was he’s got to show me golf is the most important thing in his life,” Harmon said from his golf school in Las Vegas. “And the most important thing in his life is getting drunk.”
Harmon said he has worked three times this year with Daly, but he said Daly’s behavior at the PODS Championship was enough to end the short-lived relationship.
Daly, playing on a sponsor’s exemption because he no longer has his full PGA Tour card, spent a 2 1/2 -hour rain delay during the first round in a Hooters corporate tent behind the 17th green at Innisbrook. He was 3 over, and when play resumed, he had Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden caddie for him the rest of the day. Daly ended up with a 77.
He followed that with an 80 in the second round to miss the cut.
Daly spent Saturday at the Hooters “Owl’s Nest” at the tournament, drinking beer, mingling with fans and signing autographs, including one on the back of a woman’s pants.
“I’ve let him know that after his actions of last weekend, we are no longer together,” Harmon said. “In all honesty, I’m a very busy person. I’m willing to help the kid, but until he helps himself and makes golf his No. 1 priority, I’m not his guy.
“Jon Gruden caddying, I thought was ridiculous. I thought he made a circus out of the whole event.”
Daly, who is playing the Arnold Palmer Invitational on a sponsor’s exemption, could not be located for comment.
Harmon is regarded as among the best swing coaches in golf, working with Tiger Woods before he turned pro and overhauling Woods swing when the world’s No. 1 player won four consecutive majors. He also worked with Greg Norman when he was No. 1, and his current clientele includes Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott.
Daly was the ninth alternate when he won the PGA Championship in 1991 at Crooked Stick, and he captured the British Open at St. Andrews four years later. His last victory came four years ago at the Buick Invitational, but his game has been in a tailspin ever since, and his personal life has been as rocky as ever.
He played last year primarily on sponsor exemptions and was plagued by a rib injury when he stopped his swing at the Honda Classic upon hearing the click of a fan’s camera. Daly is contemplating a lawsuit against the tournament, which gave him an exemption.
In seven events this year, he has missed the cut three times and withdrew from the Bob Hope Classic, where he was spotted at several after-hour parties. His best finish was a tie for 60th in Mexico, an opposite-field event.
Harmon said they have worked three times this year.
“He would work hard and get better, but when things don’t go right, it’s back to the alcohol stuff,” Harmon said. “I love this kid. He’s a tremendous talent. But if he’s not going to give 100 percent effort, it’s a waste of my time.”
But it was his behavior at Innisbrook that set off Harmon.
“You don’t see guys who are any good doing that,” he said. “All the guys I work with are working their (tails) off. John didn’t have it. I like the kid, but he’s got to get his head on straight. The partying and other shenanigans, if that’s the way he wants to be, I don’t choose to be a part of it.”
March 12, 2008