Tait’s Take: John Daly should take a walk at Royal Portrush

Peter Casey/USA TODAY Sports

Tait’s Take: John Daly should take a walk at Royal Portrush

British Open

Tait’s Take: John Daly should take a walk at Royal Portrush

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The R&A confirmed on Wednesday it is still considering John Daly’s request to use a cart in this year’s Open Championship.

The governing body should reject Daly’s request.

If the “Wild Thing” wants to tee it up at Royal Portrush, he should walk like everyone else.

The PGA of America set a disturbing precedent when it allowed Daly to ride during the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black in May. The two-time major winner claims he suffers from osteoarthritis in his right knee which makes it hard for him to walk for prolonged periods. The PGA of America acquiesced and gave him special dispensation to ride. Fat lot of good it did. JD missed the cut with rounds of 75 and 76.

The PGA of America’s decision has put pressure on the R&A to follow suit and allow the 1995 Champion Golfer of the Year to play his 24th Open Championship from a cart.

Hopefully the R&A will not bow to this pressure.

Harsh? I don’t think so.

John Daly reacts from his golf cart on the 12th during the first round of the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black. (Photo: Peter Casey/USA TODAY Sports)

I’m against Daly using a cart for many of the same reasons colleague Eamon Lynch made so emphatically in criticizing the 1991 PGA Champion’s right to ride at Bethpage. Similar to PGA Championship, Daly hasn’t been a factor in the Open Championship since his 1995 win at St Andrews. Of his 19 appearances since then, his best finish is 15th in 2005. He’s missed 13 cuts, including his last four. There’s no reason to suggest four wheels in Northern Ireland will suddenly make him competitive.

Like Lynch, I’d be more sympathetic if Daly had the sort of extreme medical condition Casey Martin had when he petitioned the USGA to play in the 1998 U.S. Open. Martin rightly got his way and finished T-23. (He also qualified for the 2012 U.S. Open, rode a cart but missed the cut.) No way Daly comes close to top 25 at Portrush, even if the R&A caves and lets him ride.

There’s a more fundamental reason I don’t want to see Daly ride in the 148th Open Championship. It has to do with golf culture in Great Britain and Ireland. It’s a culture that emphasizes walking as an integral part of the game. The vast majority of British and Irish golfers walk.

Daly’s only 53 years old. There are scores of amateur golfers throughout these islands much older who play on a regular basis and walk every time they play.

The R&A backed an initiative in April this year called Golf and Health Week to promote the physical and mental health benefits of playing golf. A John Daly well past peek physical fitness riding around Royal Portrush is hardly an advertisement for the health benefits of playing this stick and ball game.

No one has played the Open Championship from a cart. John Daly shouldn’t be the first.

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