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R&A turns down Daly request to use golf cart at Open

The 53-year-old American had his request to use a buggy in the US Open approved.

Former Open champion John Daly has a degenerative knee problem (Nick Potts/PA)
Former Open champion John Daly has a degenerative knee problem (Nick Potts/PA)

Former Open champion John Daly will try to play “through the pain” at Royal Portrush after seeing his request to use a golf cart turned down by the R&A.

Daly, 53, had been permitted to use a buggy in the US Open, approved under the Americans With Disabilities Act, because of a knee problem but later failed to make the cut at Bethpage Black.

The American, who won the 1995 Open at St Andrews in a play-off against Costantino Rocca, wanted to use the cart for this year’s championship, which begins in County Antrim on July 18.

However, while the R&A expressed sympathy with Daly over his condition, it said players “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”.

Following the response from the Championship Committee, Daly took to social media to express his disappointment and stressed he planned to “give it a shot” over the Northern Ireland course, adding “fingers crossed I can make it thru the pain”.

Daly is permitted to use a cart at events on the PGA Tour Champions circuit because of the degenerative arthritis in his right knee.

The American wrote on Twitter: “Quite disappointed they do not see it the same way our PGA of America and PGA Tour sees it. Different continents different laws???

“As a proud Open champion, I know what the Open Championship represents and what a special tournament it is.

“All who have earned the right to compete should be afforded that right to compete and give it their best shot.

“While I trust the R&A’s decision was made with good intentions, I could not disagree more with their conclusions.”

Daly confirmed he had been advised his doctor he would need “either unicompartment or total knee replacement”.

He added: “Before that comes my plan is to give it a shot in 2 weeks at Portrush. Fingers crossed I can make it thru the pain.”

The R&A, though, maintained it had made the decision in the interests of all players at this year’s event.

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Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland will play host to the 2019 Open Championship (Liam McBurney/PA)

“We have carefully considered the request from John Daly to use a buggy at The Open,” a statement from the R&A read.

“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 statement added: “The terrain at Royal Portrush is not suited to buggies and indeed the club itself does not permit their use. We have a serious concern that some parts of the course, where there are severe slopes and swales, would be inaccessible.

“This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but we believe it is the right one for The Open.

“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.”

PA

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