Golf: Daly withdraws after hurting back in scrap: 'Wild Thing' in fresh controversy

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The Independent Online
JOHN DALY, who has been attempting this year, with limited success, to live down the sobriquet of 'Wild Thing', yesterday withdrew from the European Masters here following his car park scuffle in Akron, Ohio.

Daly shot 83 in the last round of the World Series - the worst score of the tournament - and then had to face the wrath of the father of a player in a bizarre confrontation in the car park of the Firestone country club. Daly's long driving on Sunday apparently twice reached the two players immediately in front of him, Jeffrey Roth and Mike Springer.

At the 14th hole Daly came within a couple of feet of hitting Roth. Roth's father Bob exchanged words with Daly before jumping on the golfer from behind.

Roth Snr, aged 62, scraped an elbow but the 28-year-old Daly came off worse. According to his agent, John Mascatello, Daly aggravated a back injury and will be out of action 'indefinitely'.

Daly, at home in Memphis, will visit hospital this week for X-rays. In a message to the tournament sponsors here, Mascatello wrote: 'An emergency has developed as John was assaulted by a spectator. After being struck from behind he re-injured his back.' Daly is due to play in the Dunhill Cup at St Andrews and the World Match Play at Wentworth in the first two weeks of October.

This is the second time Daly has withdrawn from a tournament in Crans. He was due to play here in 1990 but that was before he made a name for himself by winning the US PGA Championship three years ago. Since then he has twice been suspended from the US tour. At a Christmas party at his home in 1992 he was charged with battery against his then wife, Bettye. A self-confessed alcoholic, Daly has not had a drink since. Last year, after walking out of two tournaments, he was suspended for four months.

Yesterday, Daly should have played in the Canon shoot-out here with, among others, Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros and Colin Montgomerie, but in the event it was washed out by torrential rain.

Of Daly's latest escapade, Mascatello, who was not in Akron, said: 'This is one where John is not at fault.' However, Tim Finchem, the US tour commissioner, may take a different view.

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