John Daly was out at Bethpage Black on Thursday among the galleries as he drove his PGA-sanctioned golf cart from shot to shot due to a debilitating right knee that prohibits him from being able to walk a full round of golf.
Limping around the brawny New York layout, Daly shot a respectable opening-round 5-over par 75 to put him within shouting distance of the 36-hole cut.
Always the crowd favorite, Daly’s cart usage presented an interesting dichotomy among the boisterous New York crowds on Thursday. As GolfChannel.com’s Ryan Lavner reported, the adulation for the man’s history comes in stark contrast to his current situation.
“The enthusiasm doesn’t dim even when Daly tugs his opening tee shot into the thick left rough,” Lavner wrote. “He limps to the cart, throws two more Diet Coke cans into the cubby, maneuvers around the forward tee and then eventually guides his cart down the mown path leading to the fairway.
“‘I love this,’ a man in a Mets T-shirt says, as Daly drives away, ‘but this is a f—— embarrassment to golf.'”
John Daly wheeling up to the green at a major with a cig in one hand, his putter in the other and a McDonald’s cup in the cart. The American Dream distilled to a screenshot. pic.twitter.com/uDYiasDlkL
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) May 16, 2019
For Daly’s part, he agrees.
“It’s very awkward (to use a cart) and it’s almost to a point where it’s embarrassing,” Daly told Golfweek.com’s Adam Woodward.
However, as a past champion capable of playing, Daly said he feels obligated to play if possible.
“I don’t want to ride all the time, but if I don’t, I won’t be able to finish,” he said. “I enjoy playing and I’m still competitive. It’s not really ego, I feel committed.”
As a regular rider on the PGA Tour Champions, Daly knows how to handle his vehicle, and he did a good job of it on Thursday.
“One rule (for the cart) was to try and keep pace with the way the guys were walking, I think I did a real good job with that,” Daly said. “I can’t go up past my ball and I can’t drive up and come back, but I never do that on the senior tour. It’s not far from the senior tour, just a couple stipulations.”
As for the fans, Daly knows he has their support for the most part.
New York fans are great,” he said. “Some of them are going to get on you, but 99.9% are great.”