AFP/Bethpage, United States
Tiger Woods had a few choice words Tuesday for John Daly, who will be using a cart in this week’s PGA Championship at Bethpage Black because of right knee arthritis.
The PGA of America approved two-time major winner Daly’s request to use a cart, making the 53-year-old American the first player since compatriot Casey Martin in the 1998 and 2012 US Opens to use a cart in a major championship. “As far as JD taking a cart, well, I walked with a broken leg, so...” Woods said, letting the sentence drift into silence.
Woods recalled how he hobbled across Torrey Pines in the 2008 US Open for 91 holes to defeat Rocco Mediate and capture his 14th major title -- his last until capturing last month’s Masters to end an 11-year major win drought.
Woods limped over 72 regulation holes plus an 18-hole playoff and a sudden-death hole, then underwent left knee surgery two days later and didn’t play against until February 2009.
Daly won the 1991 PGA Chmpionship, earning a lifetime exemption to the tournament, and the 1995 British Open.
PGA of America officials said Daly applied to use the cart over the hilly 7,459-yard course through the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“John went through the process, sent in the information that we request of any and all players that this applies to,” said PGA of America chief championships officer Kerry Haigh.
“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 will speak with Daly regarding the cart and exactly where he is able to drive on a course that has absorbed nearly two inches of rain in as many days. “Where the player goes all depends on the golf course and the conditions,” Haigh said. “With the rain, I will meet with John and just talk through where he can go and can’t go.
“There are 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. “We supply the golf cart for him along with a number of rules of what they can and can’t do with that golf cart.”
The PGA of America also supplies carts for 50-and-over events. PGA of America chief executive officer Seth Waugh noted the warning sign at Bethpage Black’s first tee which notes the layout is “an extremely difficult course” recommended only “for highly skilled golfers.”
“Yeah, that warning sign is for real. 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,” Waugh said. “I can understand why he’d be daunted by trying to walk this. This is a proper golf course and every hole essentially has elevation change.”
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