Daly's pro shop 'shrine' moved this week

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COOLUM, Australia --- Six years after throwing his putter into a pond at the Australian PGA, John Daly is having trouble on the greens again.

Before heading off for a practice round at the Hyatt Regency resort course Tuesday, Daly said he's tried just about everything to improve on poor putting that plagued most of his play at Hong Kong and at Huntingdale in last weekend's Australian Masters, where he failed to make the cut.

"I'm trying new grips, trying to get my posture up, changing the lie and loft, everything I could possibly try, and nothing feels right," said Daly, who spent nearly three hours on the practice green Monday. "It's just a matter of keep practicing and sooner or later something might click."

Two-time major winner Daly is returning to the scene of one of the most publicized blowouts in his stormy career. At the Australian PGA in 2002, he threw his putter and ball into the pond at the 18th green after his second round and was later disqualified for not signing his scorecard.

A scuba diver later retrieved the ball and putter, and it was mounted in the pro shop as a souvenir of the day -- at least until this week.

The display has been hidden away from an area near the pro shop which is doubling as a player lounge, just to save Daly any embarrassment.

"It would mean a lot to me this week to do well," Daly said. "My record in Australia hasn't been great."

If he does well, it will be because of an improvement with the putter. When he shot a final-round 62 at Hong Kong two weeks ago, he had "27 or 28 putts." Last week at Huntingdale in Melbourne, he shot 1-over 73 Friday in the second round and had 37 putts before failing to qualify for the weekend.

"That means my ball-striking is good, but I just hit some pretty poor putts last week," Daly said. "I made a lot of putts I needed to make in Hong Kong, but not a lot outside of 8 feet that a lot of the guys do."

Daly says he'll play in next week's Australian Open in Sydney, making it four tournaments in four weeks.

"I've said before that I need to play three or four weeks straight to get my rhythm right, and since I'm already down here, it makes sense," Daly said.

He's trying to make the best of what's turned out to be a mediocre year, both on and off the course.

He spent a night in jail on Oct. 27 after being found "extremely intoxicated and uncooperative," police said, outside a restaurant in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Daly hasn't had a PGA Tour card since 2006. He made only five cuts in 17 starts on the PGA Tour this year and earned $56,000.

In 2009, he plans to play mostly on the European tour.

Craig Parry, who played with Daly last week at Huntingdale is a Daly booster.

"He is always under pressure for his past, and I feel for the guy," Parry said.

Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, said the sport needs players like Daly.

"He's the most colorful character that's played golf in the last 25 years," Ogilvy said. "Hopefully he plays 72 holes (this week) and ends with 14 clubs."

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