Golf World (UK) - - PGA TOUR AT 50 -

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 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.

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