SYDNEY // John Daly walked off the course at the Australian Open today after hitting at least five or six balls — officials are not sure of the number — into the water on the 11th hole at The Lakes.
Daly was seven-over-par after 10 holes in the first round after becoming upset with a ruling on the 10th that penalised him two strokes. He casually putted out on the 10th and took a triple-bogey seven.
On the 11th, he hit ball after ball into the water, some landing in the centre of the pond, before a tour official joined him. Moments later, Daly shook hands with playing partners Craig Parry of Australia and American Hunter Mahan and walked off the course.
In a Twitter message, Daly said: "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."
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."
Herden said Daly appeared to become upset after hitting the wrong ball out of a bunker on 10 - apparently there were two there, one from the nearby practice range.
"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."
Herden said he was "bitter and disappointed" by Daly's actions.
"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."
Asked why the Australian Open would have paid him appearance money to be here, Herden replied: "I am not going to talk about appearance money, but he likes to come back this time of year to Australia.
"He is a major winner, we have to pay him some respect, too, even though his times have moved on slightly. But I would say this will be the last time we will see John Daly."
The PGA Tour of Australasia later issued a statement saying no appearance fees had been paid to Daly. It also said Daly's actions Thursday would be referred to a disciplinary committee.
Daly, now ranked 666th in the world, was scheduled to play at the Australian PGA at the Hyatt Regency course at Coolum in two weeks.
"I think you might find that might change," Herden said, and the statement later said that the tour had withdrawn its offer for Daly to play at Coolum.
"The PGA does not need this kind of behaviour tarnishing the achievements of other players and the reputation of our tournaments," the statement said. "John is not welcome at Coolum."
In 2002, after taking a triple-bogey seven on his last hole at the Coolum course, Daly threw his putter and ball into a greenside pond and later failed to sign for a 78 on his scorecard, disqualifying himself from the tournament. He was later fined A$5,600 (Dh20,716) by the Australasian tour and was ordered to write a letter of apology to a tour official he verbally abused.
Two years ago at the Australian Open, he smashed a spectator's camera into a tree at Royal Sydney's ninth hole. He was given a suspended fine by Golf Australia.
In 1998 in the PGA Tour's Bay Hill Invitational, Daly hit a three-wood into the water six times in the final round, took an 18 on the par-five sixth hole and shot an 85.
In the 2000 US Open, he had a 14 on the par-five 18th hole and withdrew after an opening-round 83. Daly dumped three balls into the Pacific Ocean and hit another into a garden adjacent to the fairway.
Meanwhile, Tiger Woods shot a four-under 68, leaving him three shots behind the first-round leader Jarrod Lyle.
Following lip-out attempts for birdie on three of his first five holes, Woods made the turn in one-under 34 and birdied the 10th, 11th and 13th holes.
Woods's putt from 10 feet curled around the first hole, and his 18-footer on the fourth did the same. On the fifth, his ball did a complete horseshoe, and Woods, looked exasperated as he tapped in for par.
Woods, preparing for the Presidents Cup next week at Royal Melbourne, is attempting to end a two-year winless streak. His last victory was at the Australian Masters in Melbourne in November 2009. Lyle shot 65 in a morning group.
Adam Scott surely should claim shot of the day after carding an albatross on the par-five eighth.
The Australian's shot on the 557-yard hole bounced a few feet in front of the pin and rolled in, reminiscent of a shot he made for eagle on the 18th hole at the HSBC Champions last Saturday in Shanghai, China.