CHASKA, Minn. (AP) — John Daly withdrew from the PGA Championship after finishing with consecutive double bogeys for a 78. He cited a back injury.
Daly shot an 88 in his previous round at the Buick Open, and he was contemplating a long break from golf. His swing coach suggested his diet was out of whack after the 1991 PGA champion lost 80 pounds in four months.
Daly birdied the water-lined 16th, the hole where he shot an 11 when the PGA Championship was last held at Hazeltine National Golf Club in 2002. Daly later made a long eagle putt at No. 7 and was 2 over for the tournament, but he made double bogey on his final two holes, including a three-putt on his final hole of Thursday’s first round.
After missing the first one, Daly – wearing purple pants with a wild green-and-yellow floral pattern – shook his head slightly and stared straight ahead while leaning on his putter and waiting for his turn.
After the second one – a 2-foot tap-in – rolled out, one fan yelled sympathetically, “Aw, John!”
Daly left the scoring trailer for the clubhouse without speaking to reporters.
He later posted on Twitter, “flash camera back injury from 3 yrs ago still haunting me – pain is just unbearable making it tough to play – stretch all day thru the round.”
That was a reference to a rib injury he sustained in the Honda Classic two years ago when he tried to stop his swing upon hearing the shutter of a fan’s camera.
The two-time major champion tied for 27th in the British Open, then played the next two weeks on sponsor exemptions. Daly said last month he has never been more down about his game.
“I’m working my butt off, doing everything I need to be doing, and nothing is going right on the golf course,” he said then.