It was perhaps fitting that on a day when golf’s “Wild Thing” self-destructed, play at the U.S. PGA Championship was ended by dangerous weather.
The sun was shining when John Daly stepped up to the tee at the par-three seventh hole. But thunder clouds hung over the volatile American after he sent three shots straight into Lake Michigan.
His fourth was successful enough, but by that stage he’d had enough of his club and threw it into the water – where it was retrieved by one jubilant young fan in a boat.
Daly, who won the tournament at Crooked Stick in 1991, won’t be around for the weekend in Wisconsin after that septuple bogey. But it was some way off his worst single-hole score – an 18 at Bay Hill in 1998.
The 49-year-old, a two-time major winner now relying on past glories to get into big events, was tied for 144th after completing a 10-over-par 82.
“It shows you care, that’s all,” Daly told reporters as he walked to the car park. “I’m sure I’ll get reprimanded for it.
“I know we all go through it. But I seem to go through it more than anybody. I know it wasn’t the right thing to do, but it was more of a reflex than anything.”
Tiger Woods, another player far from his mercurial best these days, is also struggling to make the halfway cut at Whistling Straits.
The 14-time major winner was one over par for the day, and four over for the tournament, when play was suspended with the American still having five holes to play.
Tied for 89th, the former world No. 1 – now ranked 278th – will need to conjure up some of his old magic when the second round resumes at 7 a.m. Saturday local time (1200 GMT).
He did confirm, however, that he will play in next week’s Wyndham Championship event on the PGA Tour as he continues to rebuild his game.
After an opening 75, Woods started strongly Friday with successive birdies – but gave them up with a double-bogey six at the fourth hole, where he made a mess of his bunker shot.
First-round leader Dustin Johnson also struggled, dropping shots at 11, 13 and 14 before the weather hooter sounded, leaving the American four strokes behind the leading duo.
Jason Day, one of the most consistent performers in recent major tournaments, was on nine under after 14 holes along with fellow Australian Matt Jones, who completed 12.
“I’m glad that we are in,” said Day. “It can get a little dangerous out there. It’s a good idea to come back in the morning.”
Justin Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champion, was third on eight under. The Englishman, like the leaders, was five under for the day with one hole to play.
Sweden’s David Lingmerth, who won his first PGA Tour title this year, was the clubhouse leader after completing a second-round 70.
He was tied for fourth on seven under with Americans Harris English and Tony Finau, who will both resume their rounds on Saturday.
World No. 2 Jordan Spieth, seeking to become just the third man to win three majors in a year, completed a 67 before the weather hit to be tied for seventh on six under.
“In order to keep shooting the rounds like today, I’m going to need to drive the ball a little bit better and make a few more putts, which are really the two keys for me this weekend,” said the Masters and U.S. Open champion, who tied for fourth at last month’s Open Championship.
Top-ranked playing partner Rory McIlroy, back in action defending his title after an ankle injury suffered playing soccer, carded a second successive 71 to be tied for 28th.
St. Andrews champion Zach Johnson, the third of that illustrious grouping, could be out of contention to add to his career haul of two majors. The American is projected to miss the cut – at this stage by just one shot – after following his opening 75 with a 72.
The best round of the day came from Japan’s Hiroshi Iwata, who became just the 27th man to score 63 at a major.
The 34-year-old, playing in one of golf’s biggest events for just the fourth time, needed a birdie at the final hole to break the record – but could only par.
He leaped 108 places up the leaderboard to a tie for 15th place, having fired eight birdies and an eagle.