John Daly ready to go in the Barbasol Championship

John Daly playing in the Barbasol Championship pro-am with UK head coach Mark Stoops on the eve of Thursday's first round.  

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- John Daly would rather not be in Kentucky this week, but he's still having fun.

As a former champion, Daly was hoping to be in Northern Ireland playing in The Open Championship. The 53-year-old two-time major winner has osteoarthitis of the knee that doesn't allow him to walk 18 holes, and his request for a cart was denied. Those that run the Barbasol Championship jumped on that opportunity. 

"It was great that Barbasol gave me this spot," Daly said. "It's a tour event, still a great event. It's just cool that I'm here, and I'm gonna play. I'm still competitive as hell. There's just no way I can walk. That's just the way it is. Hopefully, at the end of the season, my doctor's gonna look at it. They might give me a half-replacement. They're saying those last 12 years."

Daly plays most of his golf on The Champions Tour, where he can use a cart. He'll use one this week and had one Wednesday playing in the tournament pro-am with a group that included University of Kentucky head football coach Mark Stoops. 

"John, he's a great guy," Stoops said. "He's really fun to be around, real easy to play with. And he can still rip the ball, that's for sure."

Stoops said it's time to get back to football. He was a little disappointed with how he played but admitted you don't really want to be a scratch golfer if you're still an active football coach. 

"You better not be too good," Stoops said with a laugh. "I thought I was a little better athlete than that. You think you can come out here and do it, but it's a difficult game for sure."

It's the second year for the Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace. It's the first PGA-level golf in the Lexington area since the Champions Tour last played there as the Bank One Classic in 1997. And it's the first regular PGA tour event in the commonwealth since the 1959 Kentucky Derby Open at Seneca Golf Course in Louisville. 

There will be a heavy Big Blue feel to the event. Six current or former Wildcats are in the field. Sophomore Cullan Brown received an amateur exemption, and he'll be joined by former Kentucky players Lukas Euler, Steve Flesch, Chip McDaniel, Cooper Musselman and Stephen Stallings. 

The event begins Thursday and runs through Sunday. Daly tees off at 9:37 a.m. Thursday with Tim Herron and Brendon Todd.

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