"I hope I don’t get a lot of grief from the fans,” Daly told the Associated Press. “My knee is screwed. I had the meniscus cut out. I have osteoarthritis so bad … I can walk up a hill, I just can’t walk down one.”
Daly applied to the PGA of America for a cart under the Americans With Disabilities Act. In a statement provided to The Washington Post, the organization said his request was “reviewed and approved” by its medical staff after he “provided the requisite information.”
A PGA spokesman told the Associated Press that the golfer would use a cart with no roof.
Daly has been playing on the PGA Tour Champions, which allows for carts, but as a past winner of the PGA Championship he is eligible to play in the tournament as long as he is able.
Daly withdrew from the U.S. Senior Open last year after saying that the USGA denied his request to use a cart. The USGA responded by claiming that Daly’s submitted request “did not support a waiver of the walking condition.” He was given a chance to provide more information but decided to withdraw, according to a statement posted to Twitter.
He also withdrew from last year’s British Open, an event in which he can participate through age 60 after winning it in 1995, claiming his arthritis was “unbearable.” In a tweet at the time, Daly said, “It would have been nice to have gotten a cart but unfortunately was turned down by our tour board.”
In 1998 and 2012, Casey Martin used a cart while twice competing in the U.S. Open, but not before having to win a few legal battles. A former teammate of Tiger Woods at Stanford who had a circulatory disorder in his right leg, Martin finished 23rd in the U.S. Open in 1998, then missed the cut 14 years later.
Daly exploded onto the golf world by winning the 1991 PGA Championship, an event he barely made it into as the ninth and final alternate. His everyman appeal, including an affinity for beer and cigarettes, plus an exciting, grip-it-and-rip-it style captivated fans and made him an immediate gallery favorite.
Daly proved he was no one-hit wonder, following that breakthrough with a third-place finish at the 1993 Masters before winning the 1995 Open Championship. But issues with his health and personal life began to take a toll, and he struggled to compete until a solid 2004 campaign earned him PGA Tour Comeback Player of the Year honors.
Discussing his withdrawal from this week’s Regions Tradition, a Champions Tour event in Birmingham, Ala., Daly told the AP that he had been suffering from “massive dizzy spells” and said he was a diabetic.
“The whole thing [stinks],” he said. “Florida sends me a handicap sticker when I’m there. It’s embarrassing. But I can’t walk more than six holes before the whole knee swells up, and then I can’t go anymore.”