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John Daly skips PGA, stays in Michigan to play golf at Oakland's Sharf

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

As a PGA Championship winner, John Daly should be teeing it up this week at the season's first major. Instead, Big John decided he'd rather stick around for some R&R in Michigan.

Daly was spotted teeing it up Tuesday morning at Oakland University's R&S Sharf Golf Course. The visit was apparently low-key and even caught Oakland officials by surprise. Nobody seems to know what he shot, or who exactly he played with, though it was believed it was related to a charitable cause he's close to.

"That would have been a fun round of golf to be a part of," athletic director Steve Waterfield said.

John Daly at Oakland University's Sharf golf course Tuesday.

Daly, 54, decided this week to withdraw from the PGA Championship, which starts Thursday at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. He was eligible for the tournament, having won the PGA in 1991, for his first of two career major wins.

Daly explained on Twitter on Monday why he's skipping the PGA.

"People keep asking why I WD from PGA???" Daly wrote. "California now #1 in (COVID-19) cases/deaths, I had knee surgery, I’m a diabetic & I don’t feel comfortable flying. Being too close proximity to even small crowds & risk exposure with my health not worth it! God Bess & y’all be safe!"

Daly caused waves last year when he requested and was granted access to a golf cart while competing in the PGA Championship. Tiger Woods was among those critical of the PGA of America's decision.

Last week, Daly teed it up in the Champions Tour's Ally Challenge at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club. He finished tied for 58th, at even par. He was among the early contenders with a first-round, 3-under 69.

During his time in Grand Blanc, Daly was spotted wearing a custom face covering, which he said on Twitter on Tuesday was locally produced, by the Made In Detroit in brand.

Daly is the latest big-name golfer spotted out recently for a casual round in Metro Detroit. Bubba Watson was seen playing Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township before the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club. Rocco Mediate played Sharf last week, before the Ally.

Daly, a five-time PGA Tour winner and one-time Champions Tour winner who during his PGA Tour days used to travel via a tricked-out RV, has a break in his Champions Tour schedule. That tour, which restarted in Grand Blanc, returns to action next week at the Senior Players Championship in Akron, Ohio.

More: Champions Tour's Ally Challenge moving back to late summer for 2021

He was among two notable WDs from the PGA, joining two-time winner Vijay Singh, 57, who also played in the Ally (3 under, tied for 41st), but won't play at TPC Harding Park because of an injury.

Among the locals in the PGA field: PGA Tour mainstay Brian Stuard (Jackson/Oakland) and Jeff Roth (club pro at Boyne Highlands). It will be Stuard's ninth major appearance, and third in the PGA.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984