Daly ‘disappointed’ after golf buggy request rejected by R&A

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John Daly said he was left ‘disappointed’ and ‘could not disagree more’ with the R&A’s decision not to allow him to use a golf buggy at the Open Championship at Royal Portrush. 

John Daly, 53, became the first person since Casey Martin at the US Open (1998 and 2012) to use a golf cart in a major championship when he teed up at this year’s PGA Championship – but his recent request to use one at this year’s Open Championship has been turned down by the R&A. 

The R&A released a statement on Saturday, acknowledging that while they had ‘full sympathy for him as this is clearly a serious, long-term condition’, they had carefully decided to decline his request. The reasoning behind their decision included factors such as making it fair for all players, and the terrain of the course. 

“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.”

Daly released a statement of his own in response, and made it clear he was disappointed that their decision was at odds with his ability to use a golf buggy at the PGA Championship and on the PGA Champions Tour this season. 

“Just got word that the R&A turned down my application to use a cart at the 2019 Open Championship,” Daly wrote. “Quite disappointed they do not see it the same way our PGA of America and PGA Tour sees it. Different continents different laws?”

“As a proud Open Champion I know what the Open Championship represents and what a special tournament it is. I believe all who have earned the right to compete should be affordded that right to and give it their best shot. 

“While I trust the R&A’s decision was made with good intentions, I could not disagree more with their conclusions. Just visisted my good friend Jim Bradley yesterday in Pittsburgh. He is the orthopedic surgeon for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He reconfirmed bi-compartmental (medial and patella femoral degenerative arthritus grade 3-4 of my right knee.

“Shortly I will need either uni-compartment or total knee replacement. Before that time comes my plan is to give it a shot in 2 weeks at Portrush. Fingers crossed I can make it thru the pain. See you in Ireland. Grip it & Rip it! JD”

Daly has not walked in a tournament since the competing in the European Masters last September, and after being sidelined for the Open at Carnoustie, withdrew from the U.S. Senior Open after his request for a cart under the ADA was denied.

Since Daly’s initial statement, he has admitted that he was rushed to have emergency surgery over the weekend after being bitten by a brown recluse spider in England. He said that he is now suffering with serious abdominal pain (for which he had surgery) and was treated for early sepsis. At this stage, it is unclear whether it will affect his plans to compete at Royal Portrush.

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