SAN DIEGO (AP) — John Daly criticized two tournaments Thursday for not giving him sponsor exemptions, saying he would never play the Bob Hope Classic and Phoenix Open again.
Daly, a two-time major champion, has not won in seven years and has not had full PGA Tour status since 2006. He has been relying on sponsor exemptions or his status as a past champion. He already received two exemptions this year, to the Sony Open and to the Farmers Insurance Open, where he opened with a 67 on Thursday at Torrey Pines.
Daly was talking about his schedule for the year and that he hopes to get into the minimum 15 events. Without prompting, he went after two tournaments that didn’t invite him.
“I’ll tell you this – I’ll never go back to the Hope, and I’ll never go back to Phoenix, no matter what happens,” Daly said. “I won’t even send letters anymore.”
Daly said he was bothered because the tournaments owed him for his past support.
“I’m just saying that if you look at my past, everything the Thunderbirds (at the Phoenix Open) have ever wanted me to do for 17, 16 years, I’m sure I did it for them,” he said. “I helped celebrities go to the Hope. I went to their parties and did everything for them. That’s the kind of stuff that we all want our young players to do out there to help tournaments, and I felt like I did my part.
“It hurt me for those two tournaments not to give me spots,” he said. “So I’ll go to Europe on those weeks.”
Most tournaments are allowed four exemptions they can give to any player, and there is competition for those spots each week. Daly was awarded an exemption to the Sony Open over Tom Lehman, Brad Faxon and Tadd Fujikawa, a crowd favorite in Honolulu.
Most players who get exemptions are expected to attend an additional pro-am or a cocktail party to support the sponsors.
When he first lost his card, Daly had so many offers to play that he had to turn down some invitations. That was in 2007. He has not finished higher than 188th on the PGA Tour money list since then.
Unlike some other players who have lost their cards and returned to Q-school to try to earn back full privileges – such as Billy Mayfair and David Duval – Daly has not tried the six-round tournament.
“I don’t think right now I need to,” Daly said. “I feel my majors will still hopefully get me in 15 events each year. If not, I’ll think about it. But for me to go to Q-school is just tough. I feel I don’t really need to go that route yet because of the European Tour.”
Daly has European Tour privileges through his 1995 British Open win. He plans to go to the Qatar Masters next week, and somehow get in enough European events for full membership.