The R&A has turned down John Daly’s request to use a buggy during this month’s 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush.
The veteran American suffers from degenerative arthritis in his right knee and plays mainly on the PGA Tour Champions where he is allowed to use a buggy. Daly was permitted to use one during the PGA Championship in May.
The R&A issued a statement noting that they had carefully considered the 1995 Open champion’s request.
“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,” the statement noted.
“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 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.”
Daly tweeted his disappointment with the decision but said that he will still be playing.
“Different continent different laws? As a proud Open champion I know what the Open Championship represents and what a special tournament it is. I believe 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 added that he will need to undergo knee replacement surgery. “Before that time comes my plan is to give it a shot in two weeks at Portrush.”