John Daly hates having to use a cart in the PGA Championship and probably wouldn’t do it if the major didn’t mean so much to him.
- Maverick golfer and fan favourite John Daly has been allowed to use a cart at this week’s US PGA Championship
- Daly has arthritis in his knee and his appeal under the American with Disabilities Act was accepted by the PGA of America
- It’s a rarity for golfers to be allowed assistance at major championships and the decision on Daly has caused controversy
Daly used the cart for nine practice holes on Wednesday, arriving at the Bethpage Black clubhouse with an elastic bandage around his right knee, a cigarette in one hand and a wish that he could simply walk the 7,459-yard (6,820 metre) rolling course the next four days.
The PGA of America has come under criticism for giving Daly access to a cart for medical reasons.
A committee on the American with Disabilities Act gave Daly an exemption because arthritis in his knee would have prevented him from competing.
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The PGA of America’s chief championship officer Kerry Haigh defended the decision at a press conference.
“In this case, John went through the process, sent in the information that we request of any and all players that this applies to,” Haigh said.
“We have a committee that meet, which includes a medical expert, and they review the information, and it was agreed that it justified the use of a golf cart for the championship.
“I will meet with John and just talk through where he can go and can’t go around the venue.”
Not everyone is happy, however.
Tiger throws shade at Daly decision
Tiger Woods was asked about it this week in a pre-tournament press conference.
“As far as JD [John Daly] taking a cart, well … I walked with a broken leg,” he said.
His pointed comment referenced the 2008 US Open where Woods overcame two lower-leg stress fractures and a torn ACL in his knee to win the title in a playoff.
After playing his practice round, Daly said the cart is a big disadvantage.
He can’t figure out where he can go with it.
“Trust me, I hate riding in the cart,” the 53-year-old said.
“If I could walk, I would do it. I could probably walk four holes and be done. The thing swells up so bad.”
The long-hitting Daly has been playing in the PGA Tour Champions, a 50-and-older circuit that allows for carts, since 2016, winning once in 2017.
He has not won on the PGA Tour since a tour event in 2004.
What everybody remembers, though, is his first victory.
Daly driven to play at his breakthrough major
He captured the PGA Championship in 1991 after getting into the field as the ninth alternate.
That memory keeps him coming back.
“I am a past major winner of this; I just feel obligated. I don’t know why,” Daly said.
“I just do. It got me started in my career. It’s very special to me and I just feel like I need to play, or try to anyway.”
Daly will be the first player to ride in a cart at a major since Casey Martin in the US Open at Olympic Club in 1998 and 2012.
Bethpage will be a challenge, Daly said. It’s long and the fairways are not providing much roll after recent rain.
He noted that while the greens are perfect, his game isn’t.
“It’s so-so,” said the heavy-set player who has lived on the wild side and paid a price for it.
“It’s not great, but you never know. Give it a shot and see what happens.”