All eyes have been on Rory McIlroy since he began his golf season with the change over to his new Nike sponsorship. The glare will continue to be on him after he bowed out of this past weekend’s tournament, leaving in the middle of the second round with a toothache.
Some have said that McIlroy “pulled a John Daly.” Daly talks about a couple of times that he withdrew and said he now regrets it and thinks Rory will, too. He also thinks Rory should be playing a softer ball.
John Daly joined WDAE in Tampa with Steve Duemig to discuss an upcoming golf tournament in Tampa, why he planned to head to Europe until an early-season injury derailed him, Rory McIlroy withdrawing from this past weekend’s tournament and McIlroy’s switch to Nike as his sponsor.
On playing in Tampa Bay next weekend on a sponsor’s exemption:
“Living there helps. I’ve always been one to say I think Innisbrook is one of the best golf courses on the tour. They’re little greens, not big greens. They’re always in great shape. … It’s a great test of golf. You shoot even par or under par on that golf course every day, you feel like you’ve played really, really great golf.”
On why he’s looking to play more in Europe:
“I’ve got my tour card in Europe, so I can play just about everything. Unfortunately I wanted to see what would happen on the west coast. I got in three events on our west coast and they didn’t really pan out that great. Hawaii set me back. I played great up until the shoulder got hurt and I wasn’t really comfortable with it in San Diego or Pebble. So the three straight weeks off has given it a little time to heal up.”
What were your thoughts when you saw Rory McIlroy withdraw this past weekend?:
“Everybody says he did a John Daly. Back in the day, I’ve got to admit, he did. But if he has a wisdom tooth that’s hurting, you can’t play with a wisdom tooth that’s hurting. If I was him, I wouldn’t have played Doral this week. I’d go get the wisdom teeth pulled, and in six to eight days, be ready to go again. In my situation, just ’cause I did it two times. The other times I’ve done it it’s when I’ve actually been hurt. But I regret doing it, and I’m sure Rory will, too. People are different. Being the No. 1 player in the world, whether you’re the No. 1 player in the world or 800 in the world, it’s not something that you should do, but I can’t give advice to somebody that I actually did the same thing he did a couple times.”
On McIlroy switching over to Nike and the drama surrounding that:
“Nike’s a great company. They’re behind him. I feel that Rory needs to be playing a softer Nike ball instead of the firmer one and that would be a big difference in his game. … Club-switching’s not really a difficult thing out here, because a lot of the companies make similar models, like blades or cavity backs. … But the ball is the biggest, biggest difference. … Nike makes a similar ball that’s close to the Pro V-1x, that I would’ve thought they would want him to be playing a softer ball.”