John Daly, whose last tournament ended when he walked off the course during the second round of the U.S. Open, completed a five-day stay at a sports psychology and nutrition center Monday and remained unsure when he would return to competition.
“He is not going to rush things,” said Larry Dorman, an executive for Callaway Golf, Daly’s equipment company. “There is no way to say if he will play in the British Open. That’s not what’s on his mind.”
The British Open, which Daly won in 1995, is July 17-20 in Troon, Scotland.
“He wants to be able to withstand the rigors of golf,” Dorman said.
Daly, who was treated for alcoholism this spring, entered Dr. Jim Loehr’s sports psychology and nutrition center at LGE Sports Science Inc. in Orlando, Fla., last Wednesday and checked out Monday.
“He was not real enthusiastic at the beginning,” Dorman said. “But I spoke with John today and he was fine and Dr. Loehr was extremely pleased with his progress. John has dramatically improved his nutrition.”
In addition to changing his eating habits, Daly also started an exercise program.
“He was so sore from working out that he didn’t hit a golf ball the whole time he was there,” Dorman said.
Such athletes as golfers Nick Faldo, Ernie Els and Mark O’Meara as well as NFL quarterback Jim Harbaugh have had exercise and nutrition programs set up by LGE.
Daly had notoriously poor eating habits that did not improve after he quit drinking alcohol. When he won the British Open at St. Andrews - while he was sober - he subsisted on sugar, caffeine and nicotine, consuming doughnuts, soda and cigarettes in large quantities on the course.
“He has lowered his grams of fats intake, his caffeine consumption and his nicotine,” Dorman said by telephone from the Callaway office in Carlsbad, Calif.
He said Daly has cut back from 15 sodas a day to “two or three” and has reduced his three-pack a day cigarette habit in half.
Daly lost 32 pounds during an eight-week stay in the Betty Ford Center and looked rested when he returned to the PGA Tour at the Memorial Tournament in May.
He faded badly in the final round and again faded on the weekend in the Kemper Open.
At the Kemper Open the week before the U.S. Open, Daly experienced the shaking and tremors that sometimes accompany alcohol withdrawal, according to a source who was with Daly during his two weeks in the Washington area.
His U.S. Open withdrawal likely stemmed from a fear that he would experience those symptoms again in front of a huge Open gallery and national TV audience, the source said.
Daly, who underwent alcohol rehabilitation for the second time in four years after a drinking binge at the Players Championship in March, left the U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club without notifying officials, his playing partners or even his caddie.
“It was exhaustion pure and simple,” Dorman said. “In retrospect, he probably should not have tried to play three weeks in a row.”
Daly was to play in corporate outings Monday and July 7, but withdrew from both.
“He knew he was not ready for that,” Dorman said.
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