The New Golden Rule of Golf: Don’t Be a “John Daly”

Whether a seasoned golfer or beginner, the golden rule of golf course etiquette for me is to control your temper. I don’t mind a guy taking extra practice swings or a littany of mulligans, and I don’t mind playing with someone new to the game who takes ten shots to find the green. I can certainly forgive accidental talking during my backswing, shadow movement in my putting line, or hitting out of turn.

Most of us are out there to have a good time. We’re no John Daly’s who can cash checks while doing it.

There is no doubt John Daly has fantastic golf abilities and an unmistakable quality that endears him to both golf fans and sponsors alike: He is the regular everyday normal guy. He carries a belly, smokes, drinks, womanizes, and in a very humane way wears his emotions on his sleeve. Among these “qualities,” his on-course antics are legendary.

In his most recent transgression several weeks ago at the Australian Open, Daly hit all seven of his remaining balls in the water in rapid succession. Although this may conjure up heroic thoughts of Roy McAvoy’s 18th at the US Open in Tin Cup, there would prove to be no romantic ending for Daly when he walked off the course in haste for the second time in two months.

The sad truth is there are millions of people out there [like me] who can’t imagine having such tremendous raw golf talent that they can earn a sizable fortune from it. To squander that is inconceivable.

Love him or hate him, you have probably golfed with someone with a John Daly temperament. You have probably witnessed a Happy Gilmore putter throw or two, or a guy burying his club head into the green after missing a tap-in. You may have even seen a friend get so angry he threw in the towel.

We are all human, and sometimes our mental game melts down as miss-hits and bad luck mounts. When it negatively affects everyone else’s experience, though, it has gone too far.

The worst I have seen was at the 13th at Broadlands. Following several putter throws and screamed obsenities, a friend released one more cuss-ridden bellow, walked off the course and drove home to Milwaukee. In a way, it was comedic. In another way, it was a relief. “That guy” who has completely lost his cool is never fun to play with, and he brings down the group as a whole.

John Daly may no longer be welcomed in Australia, but he is more than welcomed as the ideal precautionary figure. If I ever have kids, and God willing they enjoy golf like I do, I will certainly instill the right values in them to never be a “John Daly.”

The New Golden Rule of Golf: Don’t Be a “John Daly”

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