John Daly, who has previously joked about a “cure” for the coronavirus, withdrew from the first major tournament of the PGA Tour season on Monday, citing concerns about the rise of the disease in California.
Daly tweeted that he is retiring from the PGA Championship and will miss his first major tournament since 2013. The tournament is scheduled to take place at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.
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“People keep asking why I WD from PGA ??? California is now # 1 in cases / deaths, I have had knee surgery, I have diabetes, and I don’t feel comfortable flying. Being too close even to small crowds and being put at risk with my health isn’t worth it! God Bess and be safe! the longtime professional golfer tweeted.
California has recorded more than 522,000 cases of coronavirus and 9,500 deaths. The San Jose Mercury News called July the worst month for California during the pandemic
Daly competed in the Ally Challenge last weekend at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club in Grand Blanc, Michigan. He even finished the tournament and was tied for 58th.
He is the 14th golfer to withdraw from the PGA Championship, citing coronavirus concerns.
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Daly was criticized in April when he appeared in a video shared by the Trump organization, which he said was a sarcastic joke. He said in the video that the cure for COVID-19 is a healthy dose of vodka, diet coke and cigarettes.
Daly defended himself in an interview on Golf.com: “Too bad we can’t have any more humor in this country or in this world, you know, without someone breaking you you-know-what”, a Daly told Golf.com. “I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Damn I was doing it just for fun, just try to laugh in the rough times we’re going through.
“We all need (fun) right now, we all need a sense of humor right now. We pray for the people who have fallen and pray for this virus to go away. I didn’t mean harm by that.
In the video in question, Daly encouraged fans to “drink one a day” while holding up a bottle of vodka.
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He added, “You know, sippy, sippy on a McDonald’s Diet Coke you know, wash that pretty well. Never have a hangover. And that’s how you kill this coronavirus, I believe. But be careful, be careful, and hope that soon we get back to the things we do best.