CASEY MARTIN VS THE PGA TOUR
Born with a condition called Klippel–Trénaunay syndrome that caused severe pain in his legs, Casey Martin, a former teammate of Tiger Woods at Stanford University, struggled to walk 18 holes. Having turned pro in 1995, he entered PGA Tour qualifying in ’97 but was denied the right to ride a buggy by the PGA Tour whose bylaws stated competitors needed to walk the course. Martin filed a lawsuit against the Tour in federal court and was given an injunction enabling him to play Q School where he finished 46th, earning him Nike Tour status. He won the season-opener, guaranteeing his place on that tour for the following season, and finished tied for 23rd at the US Open. His bigger victories came in court, however, with rulings in 1998 and 2000 allowing him to continue riding by buggy. The PGA Tour appealed the decision in June 2000, calling on the support of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods, who all sympathised with Martin but argued professional golfers should walk.
PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin eventually came up in front of the Supreme Court in May 2001, when Justices voted 7-2 in Martin’s favour, citing the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Martin lost his Tour card at the end of 2000, however, and went back to the Buy.com and Nationwide Tours for three years before losing full-time status and playing only sporadically from 2004 to 2006. In May of that year he was named Head Coach of the University of Oregon’s men’s golf team, a position he holds to this day.