John Daly left Bethpage Black on Friday with an 11 over par on his scorecard, a controversy in his wake and a nasty limp from his arthritic right knee.
But he said he was glad he decided to enter the PGA Championship as a past champion — 28 years ago — after he was allowed to use a cart to get around the course.
Not that he was happy with that 11 over, shooting 75 on Thursday and 76 on Friday and badly missing the cut.
“I just putted bad,” he said as he walked to his courtesy car after his morning round Friday. “I hit some good shots, [had] buried lies, just couldn’t get anything going.”
He said that despite the quick turnaround from his late round Thursday, it helped him physically that the pace of play was faster because he went out early at 7:29 a.m.
“I just missed four fairways by a half a foot or a yard, and two of them, I made double [bogey],” he said. “I had a buried lie on 3. I hit it good, that’s all I can say . . . I played good. But it’s a major championship. If you miss a fairway here and there by just a little bit, you’re going to score bad, and I did.”
Daly said the course featured “probably the thickest rough I’ve ever seen. You’re just laying up. I’m not strong enough to get it anywhere anymore.”
After wearing Yankees-themed pants Thursday, he wore ones with the logo of “Folds of Honor.”
“I’m a wing man for ‘Folds,’” he said. “We give scholarships to the fallen, the wounded [from the military], their children, put them through school. We’re doing really well with that. It’s something [near] to my heart.”
Daly, 53, said he will play in the Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill in Rochester next week. He hopes to play the British Open, where he also is a past champion, but only if he is allowed to use a cart there.
Mostly, he spoke about how he played at Bethpage, which he insisted was better than his score indicated.
“I couldn’t get a putt to the hole for some reason,” he said. “There were about seven that were dead in the jaw and I’m thinking, ‘Get down,’ but they’re three or four feet short. I don’t know if they slowed [the greens] down because they thought the wind was going to blow, but it was a lot slower.
“I had three buried lies today and two of them were really good shots. You’re sitting there shaking your head: What am I doing wrong? . . . There could have been seven to 10 putts that if I just hit them a little harder, they would have been right in the hole and it would have been a different story.”