John Daly made news last week when he received approval from the PGA to use a cart at this week’s PGA Championship.
He’ll be the first player to use a cart at a major championship since Casey Martin used one at the 1998 and 2012 U.S. Opens due to circulation problems in his legs.
It’s controversial because walking is part of the game, and many believe that a cart has no place in a professional golf tournament. If you can’t walk the course, then you can’t compete, goes the thinking.
Criticism from Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods gave voice to that line of thinking on Tuesday at a PGA Championship news conference.
“I walked with a broken leg, so ... ” Woods told reporters when asked about Daly using a cart.
He was referencing his famous 2008 U.S. Open championship victory that required a 19-hole Monday playoff against Rocco Mediate while playing with an injured knee.
Daly: ‘I hate riding in the cart’
As it turns out, even Daly’s not a fan of Daly using a cart. He used one during a practice round Wednesday at Bethpage Black and told reporters he’d rather not.
“Trust me, I hate riding in the cart,” Daly told reporters. “If I could walk, I would do it. I could probably walk four holes and be done. The thing swells up so bad.”
That “thing” is his osteoarthritic right knee which has required meniscus surgery and Daly claims prevents him from being able to walk downhill. It’s the reason he got an exception to ride this week in the tournament he has a lifetime invitation to thanks to his 1991 PGA Championship win.
So while it turns out that Daly doesn’t like using the cart, he apparently doesn’t like the idea of missing out on the PGA Championship even more. Given an opportunity to play, he’s not passing it up, even if it means taking heat for his choice to ride.
Will Daly hear it from fans?
This week’s PGA Championship is taking place at Bethpage Black, which has a distinct reputation for two traits — being an extremely difficult course and having an extremely rowdy gallery.
Daly, who is no stranger to getting rowdy himself, knows that he may not be met with kindest reception from fans who don’t like that he’s riding.
"I hope I don't get a lot of grief from the fans," Daly told the Associated Press last week. "My knee is screwed.”
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