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'Bad back' puts John Daly out of Austrian Open

John Daly, who pulled out of the USPGA Championship last month complaining of a bad back, has withdrawn from next week's Austrian Open.

It was to have been the former Open champion's ninth appearance in Europe as he tries to rebuild his career following a six-month US Tour ban after he was put in jail to sober up.

Daly was second in the Italian Open in May, but has not managed a top-20 finish on either side of the Atlantic since then.

The controversial American underwent gastric-band surgery in February and has slimmed down from 20 to 14 stones.

He recently complained of a lack of feeling in his hands, however, saying: "I can't control my hands like I used to. I have no clue where it's going. I just don't have any feel, and it scares me."

Swing coach Rick Smith described Daly as being in a "toxic state" after an 88 in the Buick Open six weeks ago.

He attributed it to the massive weight loss, not enough sleep and the wrong kind of diet.

"I saw a guy I didn't know existed," Smith said. "What I saw today was scary. It was a literal disconnect.

"He hasn't eaten or slept in a week. His body needs food and it's going to the muscle and the muscle is breaking down to the point he's in a toxic state."

"His doctors says if he doesn't have 80 to 90 grams a day of protein, he'll be in trouble. He needs to eat the right food and get himself back so he can even play golf."

September 8, 2009



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