PGA defend decision to let Daly use golf cart at Bethpage

Daly, 53, has a knee problem

PGA defend decision to let Daly use golf cart at Bethpage
American John Daly has a knee problem (Nick Potts/PA)

The PGA of America has defended the decision to allow John Daly to use a golf cart at this week’s US PGA Championship in New York.

Daly, 53, had his request to use a buggy at Bethpage Black approved under the Americans With Disabilities Act because of a knee problem.

The former Open champion is currently down at 1,848 in the world rankings, but has a lifetime exemption in the US PGA Championship following his 1991 triumph at Crooked Stick.

Masters champion Tiger Woods seemed less than impressed by Daly being afforded a special dispensation to use the cart, quipping: “well, I walked with a broken leg”, in reference to the final round of his 2008 US Open victory.

However, PGA of America’s chief championships officer Kerry Haigh maintained the correct decision had been reached.

“On all of our entry information for all of our championships, we have a clause for ADA purposes in that any player who has an ADA concern or issue is allowed to apply and give the reasons for the exemption that he or she may want to apply for,” Haigh told a press conference held by the PGA on Tuesday.

“In this case, John went through the process, sent in the information that we request of any and all players that this applies to.

“We have a committee that meet, which includes a medical expert, and they review the information, and it was agreed that it justified the use of a golf cart for the championship.”

Haigh confirmed it would be a topless golf cart and that he was set to meet with Daly to “just talk through where he can go and can’t go” around the venue.

“Obviously there’s some places on this golf course where you can’t get a golf cart to. We try and use common sense, what’s reasonable, what’s fair for the protection both of the player and those issues as well as the playing of a major championship,” he said.

There is a warning sign posted on the Black Course, which is “extremely difficult” and “recommended only for highly skilled golfers”.

PGA of America chief executive officer Seth Waugh said: “It’s a big ol’ golf course, and you’ve got to be ready for it. It’s tackle football, both playing it and walking it.

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“I’ve never been in a cart here, obviously, but I think it’s one of those places where a cart is actually less convenient than walking.

“I’m sort of all about walking. I much prefer it. Obviously I’m not trying to make a statement about John. And so where the carts go will be interesting, right, because it’s not set up that way.

“But I can understand why he’d be daunted by trying to walk this. This is a proper golf course, right, and every hole essentially has elevation change…. so it is a long walk and a beautiful walk.”

The US PGA Championship had traditionally been the golf season’s final major, but has now been switched from August to May as part of a tour revamp.

Waugh said: “We knew it was a great move. Now it looks genius with Tiger having created the conversation for the last month.

“What usually is anticipation for a week or two has been non-stop really since Augusta.

“(It) obviously blew up our ticket sales immediately thereafter, and we were in good shape anyway, but it certainly helped – and more importantly just the focus on the game of golf.

“I just think this is a great moment in time for us, for the game.”