John Daly burst on the scene at the 1991 PGA Championship, where he won the title after qualifying as the ninth alternate, thanks to the birth of Nick Price’s son.
Price backed out and Daly went on to shock the world. The win gave Daly, 53, a lifetime pass to play in the PGA Championship. So, here he is — 29 years later — struggling on the Champions Tour, battling arthritis in his knee. It has gotten to the point where he can’t walk the course anymore.
That’s not a problem at most Champions Tour events, as golfers are allowed to use golf carts.
Carts have not been permitted for the PGA Championship, until now.
Daly will be the first golfer to ride in a major since 1998.https://t.co/OxDlhYYe9T
— Ryan Young (@RyanYoung44) May 7, 2019
Daly — looking to play in the event that made him famous next week at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, New York — made a formal plea to the PGA to use a cart to play in the PGA Championship. Daly applied pursuant to the American with Disabilities Act and provided “the requisite information to allow for a review of his request by the PGA’s medical team,” reported USA Today.
“The request was reviewed and approved,” the PGA said in a statement, reported USA Today.
He will be the first player to ride a cart at the PGA Championship. He’ll also be the first golfer to ride one in a major championship since 2012 when Casey Martin competed in the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club with a cart.
Martin, who has a degenerative condition in his right leg, had sued the PGA for the right to use a cart in 1997, citing the ADA. The PGA had argued that allowing the use of a cart would fundamentally alter the nature of championship golf. The matter went to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of Martin in 2001.
So, there is precedent for Daly’s request.
“I hope I don’t get a lot of grief from the fans,” Daly told USA Today. “My knee is screwed. I had the meniscus cut out. I have osteoarthritis so bad … I can walk up a hill, I just can’t walk down one.”
“I hope I don’t get a lot of grief from the fans,” Daly said.
— 97.1 The Ticket (@971theticketxyt) May 8, 2019
The last time he walked the course during a tournament was last fall at the European Tour’s Omega European Masters, reported Golf Digest. He applied to use a cart last year at both the U.S. Senior Open and the Open Championship but was denied in both cases. Daly did play in the PGA Championship last year at Bellerive Golf Club near St. Louis, missing the cut. He hasn’t made the cut at the PGA Championship since 2012.
Daly had his best results of the year last week at the Champions Tour event, the Insperity Invitational in Houston, where he shot 4-under and finished 27th. But he withdrew from this weekend’s Regions Tradition tournament at Greystone Golf and Country Club in Hoover, Alabama — a Champions Tour major. He got sick on the drive there.
“Massive dizzy spells, and I’m diabetic now,” Daly told USA Today. “I was driving the bus from Houston, trying to make it to Birmingham, and pulled off the road six times.”
“The whole thing (stinks),” Daly said. “Florida sends me a handicap sticker when I’m there. It’s embarrassing. But I can’t walk more than six holes before the whole knee swells up, and then I can’t go anymore.”
When Daly came on the scene, he hit the ball longer than anyone who had ever played the game. He ushered in a new era. But since that time, Daly’s career has been filled with some ups but mostly downs. He won the 1995 Open Championship to become a two-time major champion, but has only won one PGA tournament since then — the 2004 Buick Invitational.
The PGA Championship tees off next Thursday, May 16, at the Bethpage Black Course on Long Island. Masters champion Tiger Woods is the favorite at 9:1 odds. Woods won the U.S. Open in 2002 at Bethpage Black.
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