John Daly hits back at players criticising Tiger Woods
Daly backs Woods after criticism
American golfer John Daly has hit out at his fellow professionals who have failed to support Tiger Woods during his recent personal problems.
World number one Woods has been subject to lurid press allegations about his private life following a car accident at his home in Florida last month.
Daly said: "I wish them [the Woods family] the best. I'm not too happy with what some players have said.
"Golf needs him. Because of Tiger is why we're playing for so much money."
Daly's comments were also supported by Australian Greg Norman, who said: "I feel sorry for Tiger, but he's got to figure out his situation for himself personally.
Tiger has the right to privacy, but he also has responsibilities as a public figure
"From the game of golf I'm sure we'd like to see him back out there performing to the level he has played.
"He's been a great asset to the game and he'll continue to be that way. But from a personal perspective I wish him well. I hope he sorts it out - family is family and nobody likes to be in that position. I'm sure he'll work it all out."
Woods, 33, is one of the richest and most successful sportsmen in the world, and has won 71 professional titles in his career so far, including 14 majors.
But his reputation has come under fire after a string of newspaper revelations about affairs with a string of women since Woods released a statement admitting to "transgressions" and apologising to his family.
He has not been seen in public since the high-profile car accident, even missing his own tournament in California earlier this month.
The rumours about his personal life have made front-page news across the world and fellow pro Jesper Parnevik, who introduced Woods to his wife Ellin, has led the criticism.
"We probably thought he was a better guy than he is [back] then," said Swede Parnevik, who admitted he felt he should offer Mrs Woods an apology for making the introduction in the first place.
But Daly, who is no stranger to the gossip columns himself, has been vocal in his support of Woods.
"Golf needs Tiger more than any other player that's ever played golf," he said.
"With his record and the way he plays, he just brings people out and he raises the bar for all of us to play better golf as well when he's out there."
Norman added of the Golf Channel that Tiger "has the right to privacy, but he also has responsibilities as a public figure".
He's a great athlete. He'll figure it out
"Things like that should stay behind closed doors, but then again we are public figures. There are times when people feel like they can reach through the TV screen and say 'I own you, I know you because I buy a product you represent'.
"That's a part of it. You have to accept that responsibility. Unfortunately, the media are the media. They support you on the way up and when you need them we use you just as much as you use us.
"And when you step across the line you've got to kind of take a little bit of the wrath of God, or whatever you want to call it. You don't want to see any residual fall-out into the game."
Woods's record of 14 majors wins puts him just four behind Jack Nicklaus, who is the most successful major winner with 18.
Nicklaus said what was happening to Woods was a family concern, and he deserved some privacy from the public eye.
"Our public is pretty forgiving at times," said Nicklaus. "Time usually heals all wounds. I think the hardest thing is obviously his family. That's a private matter for him and his family."
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