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Raging Daly hurls camera at tree

Brad Clegg (left) and John Daly
Clegg (left) eventually found his camera and continued watching Daly

John Daly smashed a spectator's camera into a tree during a frustrating first-round 78 at the Australian Open.

Following a wayward stroke on the ninth the two-time major winner was preparing to take his next shot from some trees when Brad Clegg started taking photos.

Daly reportedly grabbed the camera and threw it at a tree, shouting: "You want it back, I'll buy you a new one."

"My eyes are still burning from the flash," Daly said. "I feel it was very rude to put a camera that close."

Daly took a penalty drop and bogeyed the ninth hole - the last of his round - before finishing with a six-over-par 78 and storming off the course after signing his card on Thursday.

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Clegg, who had to search for his camera after the incident, said: "I was bold, but I wasn't unreasonable," adding he would not be seeking compensation.

"I don't think I'll be chasing him for the money. He's a big bloke!" he said.

In a statement after the round, Daly said: "I was looking to take a drop and a camera was six inches away from my face. If I was 10 under, I would have felt the same."

It has not been a happy visit to Australia for Daly, who is being paid an appearance fee for his three-tournament trip, but has missed the cut at both the Australian Masters and the PGA in the past two weeks.

Tournament director Trevor Herden described it "an unfortunate incident", but added that Daly would not face sanctions and would tee off in the second round on Friday.

John Daly
Crowds gather around Daly on the ninth at the Royal Sydney Golf club

Herden said he had spoken to Clegg and that the spectator realised he should not have been using the camera without proper accreditation.

Organisers offered Clegg tickets for the weekend, but he declined.

Ben Sellenger, PGA of Australia tour commissioner, said they would review the incident to see if it was appropriate to take any action.

It is not the first incident involving Daly, the 1995 Open and 1991 USPGA champion, and photographic equipment.

He required surgery earlier this year to fix a torn stomach muscle after sustaining an injury at the Honda Classic in 2007 when he tried to stop his swing after hearing the click of a fan's camera.

It is also not the first time Daly has been in trouble in Australia as he was fined in 2002 after throwing his putter and ball into a greenside pond and failing to sign his scorecard at the Australian PGA.

Daly's world ranking has plummeted to 737, with his career beset by drink and gambling problems, although he intends to play regularly on the European Tour next year.

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