John Daly heard Tiger Woods’s jab about using a golf cart to compete in the PGA Championship, and he isn’t angry. He says he just wishes Woods had taken time to learn “all the facts” about his health issues.
“Might have been a different comment,’’ the 53-year-old golfer told USA Today on Wednesday morning. “As well as the Golf Channel Wednesday morning, when they bashed me pretty good, and a few others [who were critics].”
Daly, who has osteoarthritis in his knee and says he takes a daily injection for type 2 diabetes, was granted a medical exemption under the Americans With Disabilities Act so that he can ride rather than walk the Bethpage Black course as he competes in the tournament.
Woods was asked about that Tuesday and replied with a smirk and some snark. “As far as J.D. taking a cart,” Woods said with a pause, “I walked with a broken leg, so ...”
That was a reminder that he won the U.S. Open in 2008 playing with tibial stress fractures and an ACL tear that required reconstructive surgery days after the win. Daly noted that he doesn’t have a surgical option for what ails him and it has left him unable, he said, to walk downhill because he has no meniscus in the knee.
“He got his fixed for some reason. No doctor will replace my knee because of a different type of problem,” Daly said. “It’s hard to explain why. I’m not a doctor. I just try to do what they say. Osteoarthritis is a tough thing, brother. If my knee was broke, I would have had it fixed. But my situation is totally different. It’s painful as hell is all I can say. As was Tiger’s, I’m sure.''
Daly, a perennial fan favorite for an Everyman look and approachability, uses a cart to get around on the PGA Tour Champions for players 50 and over. There it is allowed, but playing in the PGA Championship, for which he has lifetime entry as a former champion, required an exemption from the PGA of America, which was granted last week.
“I’d love to walk,’’ he said. “I’ve done it for years. I think it’s a disadvantage to ride, anyway. Trust me, I just can’t.’’
Daly learned in November that he has diabetes and takes medication for high blood pressure, which causes occasional dizziness. “I’ve cut back on everything except smoking my cigs,’’ said Daly, who added he has lost 25 pounds since the fall. He has liver problems, too, because of his use of over-the-counter pain relievers. “I never was an everyday drinker, especially now,’’ he said. “Might have a couple [of drinks], but not like I’m perceived.’’
Daly and Woods aren’t likely to cross paths on the course Thursday. Woods has an 8:24 a.m. tee time; Daly tees off at 12:54 p.m. Even if they do meet up, Daly said he feels no animosity toward Woods. “Not at all. He’s the best player I’ve ever played with or seen,” he said.
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