Daly said he first noticed something wrong with his right elbow at the Byron Nelson Championship in May, and tests revealed a torn tendon. He said doctors told him he could try to play as long as he didn't hit a rock or a tree root.
"And that's what happened on the 12th hole Friday at Greenbrier," Daly said. "I was just trying to chip out and there was a root under the ball. It wasn't more than 50-yard chip shot. But that's the pain I've been dealing with."
He was replaced in the British Open by Stephen Gallacher of Scotland. The Open is July 18-21 at Muirfield.
Daly says he is scheduled for surgery Thursday morning. He said doctors told him he could start rehabilitation in early September, and if everything went well, he could return to golf in the late fall.
This will be the first time Daly, 47, has missed the British Open since 1999 at Carnoustie.
The surgery means he will not play in the only two majors for which Daly is eligible—the British Open and the PGA Championship as a past champion of both. Daly won the 1991 PGA at Crooked Stick as the ninth alternate, and he won the Open in 1995 at St. Andrews in a playoff over Costantino Rocca.
"I hate missing the British Open, especially at Muirfield. It's one of the best on the planet," Daly said.
Daly has not had a full PGA Tour card since 2006. A year ago, he put together three finishes in the top 20—including a tie for fifth in the Reno-Tahoe Open—during a stretch of seven straight tournaments. He had a chance of earning his card until an 86-77 on the weekend at Las Vegas and missed cuts in his last two events. He finished 146th on the money list, his highest position since 2005.
"What really (stinks) about this is that I was getting ready to play seven in a row, and that's when I played my best golf last year," Daly said. "My goal was to get into those four qualifying tournaments at the end of the year."