FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — On the fourth gap of his opening spherical of the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black on Thursday, John Daly drove his cart down the best aspect of the golf green and stopped unexpectedly.
Daly, the 1991 PGA Championship winner, reached into his proper pocket and pulled out a cigarette — his third of the spherical.
After he hit his second shot on the par-5 13th gap, a fan outdoors the ropes shouted, “Good shot, child. How’s the knee feeling?”
“Like s—,” Daly stated.
That is the way it went for the 53-year-old Daly, who was the one one within the 156-player subject allowed to make use of a motorized cart, after the PGA’s American with Disabilities Act committee granted him permission due to osteoarthritis in his proper knee.
Utilizing a cart to navigate his means across the seven-mile course did not appear to provide him a lot of a bonus, as he completed with a 5-over 75.
How’d John Daly get by his day at Bethpage Black? Some McDonald’s and Weight loss program Coke. Mark Schlabach/ESPN.com
“It is very awkward,” Daly stated. “It is to a degree the place it is nearly embarrassing. However I really like the PGA, and I am a previous champion. There isn’t any means I may stroll it. However I really feel like I belong to play since I am a previous champion, and I simply really feel obligated. I actually wish to play.”
Daly stated he has additionally utilized for permission to make use of a cart at The Open at Royal Portrush in Northern Eire in July. He hasn’t but obtained a solution from The R&A. Daly stated he will not be capable of play in Northern Eire with out one.
“Belief me, if I may stroll, I might stroll,” Daly stated. “I’ve at all times felt like I play higher once I stroll. I am not one that desires to experience on a regular basis. It is simply that if I do not, I am not going to have the ability to play.”
After enjoying 18 holes with a cart at Bethpage Black on Thursday, Daly stated his proper knee was concerning the measurement of a grapefruit. He stated his solely treatment is icing the knee. Medical doctors have instructed him he is too younger to have knee alternative surgical procedure, and warned him that the arthritis would return.
“I do know some grief has been given about it, and I preserve my viewpoint to myself, however he is in ache,” stated Wealthy Beem, the 2002 PGA Championship winner, who performed with Daly on Thursday. “He is actually in ache. I noticed him entering into that bunker on 17, and I assumed he would possibly go down entering into it. He is on the market battling.”
Regardless of having not gained on the PGA Tour for the reason that 2004 Buick Open and enjoying totally on the PGA Tour Champions for gamers 50 and older, Daly was nonetheless a crowd favourite on Lengthy Island. He confirmed up a couple of minutes late for his opening tee shot sporting New York Yankees-themed pants and golf footwear.
John Daly knew he was in New York, and got here dressed for the event. AP Picture/Charles Krupa
Daly bogeyed the treacherous No. 10 gap to begin earlier than steadying himself and producing pars on the following three holes.
On the par-Four 12th, Daly hit his tee shot 279 yards down the best aspect of the golf green. A fan screamed, “All that gymnasium time is paying off!”
One other one yelled: “It is your world, John. We’re simply residing in it, child. Drive that [cart] proper up on the tee field.”
On the par-Three 14th gap, Daly hit his tee shot off the bottom of a digicam tower. He needed to drive the cart across the left aspect of the inexperienced and park it among the many patrons. Whereas Daly was failing to stand up and down, a gaggle of youngsters gathered round his cart.
One in all them stated, “Do it! Do it! It is a once-in-a-lifetime likelihood.”
His good friend gave into peer strain, jumped into the driving force’s seat of Daly’s cart and posed for a photograph.
Daly walked off the inexperienced and climbed again into the cart. Apparently upset concerning the bogey he simply made, Daly did not take his foot off the gasoline whereas he raced previous followers down the steep hill between the 14th inexperienced and 15th tee.
“New York followers are nice,” Daly stated. “A few of them are going to get on you, however 99.9 p.c of them are nice. They’re good followers.”
John Daly did not play effectively, however he nonetheless received loads of help. AP Picture/Seth Wenig
Daly performed with Beem and Y.E. Yang, neither of whom performs competitively on the PGA Tour anymore. Daly routinely outdrove each of them, however he averaged solely 289.6 yards, which is a far cry from his distance within the early 1990s, when he mesmerized golf followers together with his booming drives.
Finally, it was Daly’s placing that did him in. He averaged nearly two putts — and about one cigarette — per gap.
Even within the twilight of his profession, although, Daly remains to be the champion of the individuals. PGA officers would not enable him to hold rain gear or an umbrella in his cart — however he was in a position to have an extra-large cup from McDonald’s and 4 cans of Weight loss program Coke to refill it.
“I heard some hysterical issues,” Beem stated. “I believe the funniest factor, and I’ve identified John for 20 years now, is he is cruising down the golf green lighting up a dart and consuming a Weight loss program Coke. That is superior. You go, John. You go, child.”