John Daly’s request to use a golf cart at The Open has been turned down by the R&A, but the 1995 champion said he will still compete at Royal Portrush when the tournament begins July 18.
“Quite disappointed they do not see it the same way our PGA of America and PGA Tour sees it,” Daly, who claims he suffers from a disability that precludes him from walking, said on social media. “Different continents different laws???
“… White I trust the R&A’s decision was made with good intentions, I could not disagree more with their conclusions.”
Daly on Saturday said a doctor confirmed he has bi-compartmental degenerative arthritis in his right knee.
“Fingers crossed I can make it thru the pain,” he said in his post.
Daly, 53, was approved to use a cart at the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black in May after he had applied with the PGA of America to do so through the Americans with Disabilities Act. He failed to make the cut in that event.
The two-time major champion regularly plays the PGA Tour Champions, a 50-and-older circuit that allows for carts. He last played a tournament without a cart last September at the Omega European Masters in Switzerland on the European Tour.
While sympathetic, the R&A declined Daly’s request.
“We have carefully considered the request from John Daly to use a buggy at The Open,” it said in a statement Saturday. “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 R&A also said the terrain at Royal Portrush “is not suited to buggies” and isn’t permitted by the club.
“This is not a decision we have taken lightly but we believe it is the right one for The Open,” the R&A said. “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.”
In 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of Casey Martin, who had sued the PGA Tour for the right to use a cart due to a birth defect that was considered a disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Other golf organizations honored the ruling in Martin’s case. But the ruling was narrow and other golfers who have applied for a golf cart have needed to show medical reasons.
Not everyone agree with the PGA decision in May.
“This is a bigger golf course, there’s a lot of property,” Tiger Woods said of Bethpage Black. “There’s definitely going to be a component to stamina as the week goes on, four days over a tough championship that is mentally and physically taxing takes its toll.
“As far as JD taking a cart? Well,” Tiger continued with a grin. “I walked with a broken leg, so …”
Woods was referring to his 2008 US Open victory.
ESPN’s Bob Harig contributed to this report.