John Daly will have to walk if he wants to play in this year’s British Open at Royal Portrush. The R&A has turned down his request to use a golf cart.
Daly asked for permission to ride in this year’s championship, just as he did in the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black. The 1991 PGA Champion petitioned the PGA of America for the use of a cart on the basis 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. Daly missed the cut with rounds of 75 and 76.
Daly, who won the 1995 Open Championship at St. Andrews in a playoff with Costantino Rocca, was hoping for the same courtesy at Royal Portrush to play in his 24th Open Championship. If the 53-year-old wants to play, he’ll have to walk like the rest of the field.
“We have carefully considered the request from John Daly to use a buggy at The Open,” the R&A said in a statement. “We appreciate the difficulty John is facing and have full sympathy for him as this is clearly a serious, long-term condition. Having considered all of the relevant factors, the Championship Committee has decided to decline his request.
“We believe that walking the course is an integral part of the Championship and is central to the tradition of links golf which is synonymous with The Open. We must also ensure that, as far as possible, the challenge is the same for all players in the field.
“The terrain at Royal Portrush is not suited to buggies and indeed the club itself does not permit their use. We have a serious concern that some parts of the course, where there are severe slopes and swales, would be inaccessible.
“This is not a decision we have taken lightly but we believe it is the right one for The Open. John has a special place in our hearts as a Champion Golfer and he will always be welcome at the Championship both at Royal Portrush and in future.”