ORLANDO, Fla. -- Even John Daly's friends and allies are concerned and raising questions.
Arnold Palmer Invitational co-leader Fred Couples made it clear that he wasn't preaching to Daly about his reported drinking and carousing of late, but suggested Thursday that the hard-living lug might want to reconsider his personal and professional trajectory.
Daly's name has been in the news for two straight weeks, and none of it has been positive. He was disqualified from this week's tournament for missing his pro-am time and raised eyebrows last week in Tampa for his behavior in a beer garden situated on the 17th hole. Daly really has two options, Couples suggested.
"You can read it all and say, 'To heck with it,'" Couples said after his round. "Or, read it all and say, 'Maybe they're right.'"
Couples said some of the antics have grown thin. Last week, following a rain delay, Daly emerged from the beer tent with NFL coach Jon Gruden as his caddie.
"I like people too, but I'm not going to let a guy who has never carried my clubs caddie for me on the PGA Tour," Couples said.
Couples said Daly "has more talent than 85 percent of the guys on the PGA Tour." But he's burning bridges at a dizzying clip.
"I'm not bashing John, but he can look at what people are saying and say, 'Maybe they're right,' or continue to run the deal the way he's running it," Couples said.
Playing mostly on sponsor exemptions the past two years, Daly has walked off courses for dubious reasons and created some bad publicity for the events who welcomed him. To anybody's knowledge, the PGA Tour has yet to take any action against Daly for his recent string of embarrassments, which in some fashion, only serves to sanction his behavior.
"Maybe this is the steppingstone," Couples said. "He's getting kind of reamed. If he shot 65 today instead of me, it would be a lot better deal."