This week’s US Open venue, the Olympic Club, is a challenging course for any golfer. Between the hills, rough, and sheer distance, I doubt these old caveman knees of mine would be able to carry me the length of the course. Nevertheless, PGA official rules require that players walk the course; it’s just part o’ the game.
Yet Casey Martin is gonna be teein’ off today even though he isn’t going to be walking those 18 holes. Thanks to a birth defect that affects the circulation of his right leg, leaving him hurtin’ for certain after walking around too much, Casey Martin will be allowed to ride in a golf cart between shots.
This unique exception was granted to Martin only after he appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court! Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Martin was allowed to ride a golf cart during Masters events. PGA Tour officials felt that it was a dangerous precedent to set for the sport. Golf greats such as Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer were even called in to testify against Martin.
Personally, I’ve gotta agree with the PGA Tour officials on this one. If a player can’t compete within the confines of the sport’s rules, then ya shouldn’t be on the course! Say for instance a baseball player can’t throw the ball 90+ mph. Should he be allowed to use a pitchin’ aid or steroids to help your performance since you just can’t compete? As the MLB has shown us time and time again, that kinda thing just don’t fly. Or say you suffer a knee injury and can’t run the bases; should you be allowed to walk to first without the fear of being thrown outt? No! That kinda thing means the end of a player’s career in any other sport. In the case of Martin being allowed to use a golf cart, it ain’t fair to the other players who have to walk the course. Walkin’ 18 holes can be tiresome and can drain a player’s energy. By the time Martin gets to that 18th hole, since he hasn’t been walking, he’s not going to be as fatigued as a player who has had to hoof it all day. Allowin’ these kind of ability exceptions in golf pollutes the quality of the game and overall competition. But that’s just one caveman’s opinion.
In the end, Martin was allowed to ride on the course and went on to tie for 23rd at the 1998 U.S. Open. He eventually quit the professional circuit in 2000 and has been coaching the University of Oregon’s golf team ever since. This year, Martin decided to give pro-playin’ the ol’ college try and is back in the swing of things having qualified for the U.S. Open in regional events.
So what do you think about Martin’s return to professional golf? Is he a contender for the championship or is this the last flicker before his certain fade from the sport altogether? Do you think his cart should be allowed on the course? As always, leave yer thoughts in the comment section!