Casey Martin Denied a Cart... Again
By Torleif Sorenson on 6/26/13
Casey Martin is famous for having made a go of the PGA Tour and the Nike Tour despite having Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome, an utterly debilitating disease that makes walking extremely painful. He (and his attorneys) won a notable federal court case that permitted him to use a motorized cart during competition.

Now the head coach of the University of Oregon men's golf team, Martin was using a cart on Monday at El Camino Country Club in Oceanside, California to spectate and scout golfers playing in a qualifier for the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship — as most college golf coaches tend to do. Before arriving at the event, Martin secured a cart from tournament chairman Matt Pawlak, whose regular job is as assistant director of course rating for the Southern California Golf Association.

But according to Pawlak, someone from the United States Golf Assocation (USGA) contacted him and asked that Martin not use a cart. Pawlak said Martin gave it up at the 6th hole, but wasn't happy about it. Martin later told Golfweek's Cassie Stein, "I've never felt more discriminated against or unfairly taken advantage of in my entire life." Later, Martin talked with USA Today:
"I said, 'Man, I went to the Supreme Court, and I know what my rights are. Do they know my story?'" Martin said. "And he said, 'Yes, they know.'

"I said, 'Let me ride this.' He apologized but said he couldn't. I said, 'I know I can use this cart, but if not, can you or someone take me around?' He said, 'We can take you to a point on the course and drop you. We can't cart you around.'"
Pawlak was apparently directed by someone at the USGA to refer to their "Qualifying Manual," which reportedly includes this directive:
"Golf Carts/Scooters for Spectators — Golf carts will not be provided to spectators (including club members) at any USGA Qualifying location or the Championship proper, regardless of availability at the site or condition of spectator. The USGA makes scooter transport units available at most Championship sites on a first come, first served basis. Offering to take a "disabled" person to a couple of selected spots on the course to view play as it comes through that area is acceptable and should be encouraged. No one will be shuttled to view play hole by hole, regardless of their condition or relationship to a player in the event."
At least when Martin called USGA Executive Director Mike Davis to discuss the blunder, Davis apologized to him.

Your correspondent attempted to locate the "qualifying manual" in question, but came up empty-handed the first time. In the meantime, Mike Davis and his executive committee probably need to revise that "qualifying manual" to prevent problems like this in the future.


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Image via University of Oregon, Eric Evans


[ comments ]
jasonfish11 says:
For the person to sit there and say that they knew of the court ruling then still make this decision is insane.

Why didn't this moron just let him finish the round w/ the cart and get clarification. Then if it was deemed later he shouldn't have used it then DQ him.
6/26/13
 
Torleif Sorenson says:
Hmmm... I'd like to see the part of the USGA manual that discusses disqualifying spectators. What would they do, take a way his amateur status? :-P
6/26/13
 
Kurt the Knife says:
power trip
6/26/13
 
Torleif Sorenson says:
(rim shot)
6/26/13
 
mjaber says:
Yes, Mr. Martin, you went to the Supreme Court to gain the right to use a golf cart while PLAYING in a professional golf tournament. In this case, you were a spectator and granted the same priviledges of any other spectator. Perhaps in the future, you should arrive in time to be granted the use of one of the scooters that is provided on a first-come, first-serve basis, by the USGA, instead of trying to use your name to get special treatment.
6/26/13
 
Torleif Sorenson says:
Look for the IRS to hire that USGA bureaucrat, too.
6/26/13
 
golfingbumunderpar64 says:
While I personally think the USGA are just being dicks about the situation and I completely disagree with a ton of stuff the USGA puts out there, mjaber has a point. He is given the same treatment as other disabled people. At the state am my pregnant wife served as my " caddie " just so I could have her there with me. She rode in a cart, I had to walk. The second day since a2nd player walked so she had to ride with another competitor who wasn't using a caddie. ( for those who don't know the rule a caddie and player cannot ride in a cart at the same time during the course of play even if there is an extra seat in a cart )
6/26/13
 
mjaber says:
@Tor... the "qualifying manual" they refer to, I think, is the info listed on their website (and I would assume in a book somewhere) explaining the facilities available at USGA Championships for people with disabilities. Check under "Spectator Info" under any of the USGA CHampionships websites.

Personally, I think it's sad that the USGA is not able to provide enough carts for anyone with a disability to use. There's no reason they shouldn't be able to have enough for anyone who needs one. However, it sounds to me like BOTH sides are wrong here. Mr. Martin should have read the info, and made sure he was there in time. The USGA should be able to provide the same level of service to everyone. Not having enough carts is like overselling an airline flight (which shouldn't be allowed either).
6/26/13
 
Torleif Sorenson says:
Mike, I'll take a look at the Spectator Info section.

And just to reiterate, everyone, Casey Martin made arrangements with tournament director Pawlak to reserve and use a cart DAYS BEFORE he even arrived at El Camino. Pawlak didn't initiate the complaint - it was some holier-than-thou blue-blood with the USGA.
6/26/13
 
mjaber says:
@Tor... Exactly my point. He made arrangements to get special treatment. Let's just say, for arguments sake, that I have the same ailment, and my kid is playing in this tournament. If I called the tournament director and asked for use of a cart, I'd be told to get there early and make sure I got one of the supplied scooters from the USGA. He's looking for special treatment, not because of his condition, but because of his name, and that's just not right.

Also, I don't see any reference as to who filed the complaint with the USGA. It could have been someone who did not get a scooter, and asked if they could use a cart like "that guy."
6/26/13
 
mjaber says:
And to add a little extra... It's not like he didn't know. He was told, according to the Golfweek article like, at an earlier US Junior Amateur qualifier that using the cart conflicted with the rules.
6/26/13
 
srogers13 says:
Another point, what if there were 100 people with disabilities wanting a cart, and say 20 of them are wanting to follow the same group, or say all 100 are on 18 following the final group, where would all the carts go, and how much damage could it do to a course. That is why they made mention of offering the scooters.
6/26/13
 
ToddRobb says:
@mjaber Spot on!! For Casey Martin to bring up his court ruling allowing him to PLAY was truly busch league. He absolutely tried to take advantage of his celebrity status, hoping that no one would know that his "story" has nothing to do with what he was trying to do as a spectator. When he said "do you know my story?" the guy should have said "do YOU know your story?". Good for them for enforcing a rule fairly.
6/26/13
 
thedeserttortoise says:
mjaber... spot on! I kind of liked it that he sued to allow handicap tour play with a cart but his attempt to spin this issue into an "issue" makes me despise the guy. I hope the University of Oregon takes a close look at this guy... he seems a little slimy I think....
6/26/13
 
Matt McGee says:
Regardless of the fact that Martin had made arrangements ahead of time, and that the USGA official should have let it go for the day, the "don't they know who I am?" attitude is sort of detestable.
6/27/13
 
Bertie_16 says:
We do realize that Golf is a game right? Society needs to step back and think about what is esential to life and what is not. Life would go on without golf, believe it or not. It was a game created for entertainment, though I'd say it's more frustrating than entertaining sometimes. Seems that there are stiffer rules regarding use of golf carts then there are regarding teachers sleeping with students. Priorities....
6/27/13
 
Duke of Hazards says:
lame duck
6/27/13
 
Matt McGee says:
Wait. Golf is a game? Life would go on without it? Bertie, I suggest you re-examine your priorities, consider the error of your ways, and recompense to those you have harmed. ;)
6/28/13
 
Gromit5 says:
The invective in most of these comments turns my stomach. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. "There but for fortune..."
6/28/13
 
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