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View Full Version : Like you didn't see this coming - Supreme Court rules in favor of Casey Martin



Jim F.
05-29-01, 11:07 AM
Supreme Court Allows Disabled Golfer to Ride Cart

Updated 10:35 AM ET May 29, 2001

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that disabled golfer Casey Martin must be allowed to ride in a cart between shots, rather than walk the course, during professional competition.

By a 7-2 vote, the high court handed a setback to the PGA, which had argued that changing its rules because of one player's physical condition would fundamentally alter the competition.

Justice John Paul Stevens said for the court majority that the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibited the PGA from denying Martin equal access to its tours on the basis of his disability.

Martin suffers from a painful circulatory disorder in his right leg that makes it difficult for him to walk long distances. Stevens said allowing him to use a golf cart, despite the PGA's walking requirement, would not fundamentally alter the nature of the tour.

http://sports.excite.com/news/?story=/news/r/010529/10/sports-pga-martin-dc

-jim

Jen!!!
05-29-01, 11:10 AM
I can't believe this issue had to go all the way to the Supreme Court to begin with! Talk about an abuse of my tax $$$!!!!!!!!

I'm glad they said it's ok for handicapped people to be handicapped. What a great day this is for America. :rolleyes:

PettittesPrincess
05-29-01, 05:17 PM
I think they should allow all golfers to ride in golf carts. I know it sounds harsh, but I mean if it's like 110 and he gets to ride around while the others walk, he does have an advantage. There are some things people just can't do, and I am sick of America and their need to accomodate everybody. Ok that's just my opinion.

KLJ
05-29-01, 05:25 PM
Originally posted by PettittesPrincess
I think they should allow all golfers to ride in golf carts. I know it sounds harsh, but I mean if it's like 110 and he gets to ride around while the others walk, he does have an advantage. There are some things people just can't do, and I am sick of America and their need to accomodate everybody. Ok that's just my opinion.
i agree.. either everyone rides or nobody rides.. that's what sports is all about.. i'm sorry he has a handicap, but it should be an equal playing field for everyone.. baseball made no rules changes for jim abbott..

#1PaFan
05-29-01, 05:26 PM
Cool! I wonder if I can sue MLB now? I can't hit; I can't pitch; and my fielding sucks. I'm sure the Devil Rays could find me a position.

WindRavenX
05-29-01, 08:40 PM
Originally posted by #1PaFan
Cool! I wonder if I can sue MLB now? I can't hit; I can't pitch; and my fielding sucks. I'm sure the Devil Rays could find me a position.
NO WAY!!!
GO TO THE RED SOX PLEASE!!! :lol: :lol:
Seriously thought..I think a little golf cart doesn't make much difference.
Casey Martin still sucks pretty bad WITH a cart..so obviously he isn't getting a real boost from it :P

PettittesPrincess
05-29-01, 08:47 PM
Originally posted by KLJ

i agree.. either everyone rides or nobody rides.. that's what sports is all about.. i'm sorry he has a handicap, but it should be an equal playing field for everyone.. baseball made no rules changes for jim abbott..

Yeah really..there are rules that people should have to abide by, regardless of their condition.

Gator
05-29-01, 09:05 PM
What bugs me about this is the fact that the Judiciary system now thinks it can set the rules for professional sports. That's not a good trend

CJM
05-29-01, 09:06 PM
Golf isn't a sport,it's an activity.

WindRavenX
05-30-01, 12:41 AM
Im still pissed at the SC for ruling MLB exempt from Monopoly status..cuz now its clear it's screwing the fans...
Golf has to be the LEAST physically demanding 'sport' of them all.
Hell, if Rush Limbaugh can golf, IT IS NOT A SPORT PEOPLE!

Ct.Fan
05-30-01, 08:10 AM
I agree withthe ruling. Martin's case is a unique one. See the article below for another view:

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/30/sports/30ANDE.html

May 30, 2001
SPORTS OF THE TIMES

Martin's Cart Won't Hit the Ball
By DAVE ANDERSON

DURING the final round of last year's Kemper Insurance Open, Casey Martin's 20-foot putt on the 12th green just slid past the cup. Most of those in his gallery groaned, "Ohhh," but one voice blurted, "Too bad, you cheater!" Before limping off the green to his cart, Martin turned and stared in the direction of that voice.

"I went looking for the guy," he told Golf Digest early this year. "I had so much tension from playing poorly that day, so much tension in my life from just the struggle of golf and wanting to do well and then when that happened, I could have exploded. But fortunately, the guy was chicken enough not to show his face."

Now that guy, whoever and wherever he may be, is surely chicken enough not to heckle the United States Supreme Court.

In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the PGA Tour must accommodate Martin, whose right leg is withered from a rare circulatory ailment known as Klippel- Trenaunay-Weber syndrome, with a golf cart under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

In writing the majority opinion in PGA Tour v. Martin, Justice John Paul Stevens, who has been described as playing golf regularly when at his Florida home, judged that Martin's use of a cart "does not fundamentally alter" tournament competition.

"From early on," Stevens wrote, "the essence of the game has been shot-making."

In other words, the cart doesn't hit the ball, the golfer does. That has been Martin's argument, and the belief here, throughout his long and winding journey through the courts. Martin may also be unique: someone who, despite a disability, can be a competitive touring pro as long as he's allowed to ride a cart between shots.

There may not be another Casey Martin out there capable of finishing sixth in average driving distance on the PGA Tour despite a withered and painful leg, as he did last year with an average of 288.3 yards behind only John Daly, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Phil Mickelson and Scott McCarron.

"A common perception toward people with disabilities," Martin said in that Golf Digest interview, "is that you're going to have an advantage, and that's just a gross distortion of the truth. I'm sure a lot of players would love to take a cart, but I guarantee you they would not like to take a cart with my leg."

Although the court decided in Martin's favor, Tim Finchem, the commissioner of the PGA Tour, said that the ruling seemed to focus "on Casey Martin and Casey Martin only," that it should not apply to someone who could play with "difficulty or discomfort." No cart, for example, for a pro with a bad back or a sore toe.

That's as it should be. The Americans With Disabilities Act pertains to someone with a disability, not a hangover. Unless you're disabled, you should walk on the PGA Tour.

Martin, a Stanford teammate of Woods's in 1994, was issued a preliminary injunction in November 1997 that allowed him to use a cart at the PGA Tour's final qualifying tournament. With a cart, he qualified for what was then known as the minor league Nike Tour, now the Buy.com Tour, where Martin currently plays.

Martin, who will be 29 on Saturday, won the 1998 Nike Tour's first event, the Lakeland Classic in Florida. He soon was issued a permanent injunction against the Tour. In the 1998 United States Open at Olympic in San Francisco, he finished tied for 23rd.

Martin, who made the 36-hole cut in 14 of his 29 PGA Tour events last year for $143,248 in prize money, has earned a career total of nearly $400,000 on both Tours as well as substantial endorsement income. But this year on the Buy.com Tour, he has survived only four of eight cuts in collecting $6,433; he missed the cut in two PGA Tour events.

Sooner or later, another Casey Martin will surface, another golfer with an equally valid disability who wants to try to qualify for the Tour. Now he or she will at least have a chance to qualify, as long as the case fits the interpretation of the Supreme Court.

And suppose the PGA Tour had won the case and suppose one of its prominent pros Woods, Mickelson, David Duval, or any of its pros for that matter suddenly was disabled and, like Martin, couldn't walk 18 holes. With a cart, maybe that disabled pro could play well enough to rejoin the Tour.

Wouldn't the PGA Tour be glad to allow that disabled pro perhaps one of its top stars to use a cart? But if the Tour had won in the Supreme Court, it wouldn't be able to. Now it can.

61in61
05-30-01, 11:43 AM
I am having a real problem with this whole issue. Why does a whole sport have to be thrown into chaos for just 1 individual?
Great comment from ElDuque, I didnt see Jim Abbott whining about special dispensation because of his condition. And he did quite well thank you! Enough with everyone being so damned politically correct and having decisions being made for the good of one to the detriment of many. And that is all I have to say.
GO YANKEES !!!!!!!!!!

rajah
05-30-01, 01:08 PM
One can argue reasonably on both sides of this case, but some of you, understandably, do not appreciate the nature of the issues.

1) In order to be protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Act on which Martin relied, one must meet the definition of disabled, which requires an abnormal "impairment" that significantly limits some major life function. Someone who can't run fast or with poor eye-hand coordination does not qualify. Either does someone with a bad back or a sore toe. This decision will not throw golf or any other sport into "chaos". It will have very limited effects.

2) Jim Abbott could claim disability status under the ADA. His condition is clearly an abnormal impairment and it limits normal life activities. But he could only claim some reasonable accommodation that would not change the nature of baseball. For instance, had major league baseball required all players to wear fielders' gloves on their non-throwing hands at all times, Abbott could have claimed that an exception should be made to accommodate his disability because the glove rule was not central to the game. Abbott could not claim that he should get the benefit of a larger strike zone. The issue in Martin's case was whether a waiver of the no golf cart policy was more like a waiver of my hypothetical fielders' glove rule, or more like an enlargment of the strike zone. The Supreme Court said that walking is not central to the game and thus could be accommodated. That seems debatable to me, but the decision poses no significant threat to any competitive sports, including golf.

KENMonteSS86
05-30-01, 01:16 PM
Rajah,

Once again, on yet another topic, very well put!!!!

JeanC
05-30-01, 01:34 PM
Way To Go Casey!!!

Thats one more victory Handicapped people dont have to worry about now!!1

:)

JeanC
05-30-01, 01:37 PM
Originally posted by PettittesPrincess
I think they should allow all golfers to ride in golf carts. I know it sounds harsh, but I mean if it's like 110 and he gets to ride around while the others walk, he does have an advantage. There are some things people just can't do, and I am sick of America and their need to accomodate everybody. Ok that's just my opinion.

Im very proud for Casey standing up for the Handicapped!

But I thought the same thiing yesteday PP ! I thought for all the ground they cover mind ya its great exercise! But yes I do agree for pros they should be using Golf Carts. That way you could call the Game even without hurting the handicapped!

:D

allybear
05-30-01, 01:52 PM
Do I feel bad for Casey Martin? Of course I do, and it is very sad to see the obvious pain he is in. However, my feeling is that if you want to do something and you are unable to, well...time for a change of plans.

Plus, the ADA in general leads to a slippery slope, and this case does not help. For instance, I'm terrified of heights, which is technically a psychological condition. If I wanted to be a firefighter, does that mean I could apply for an exemption and only fight fires on the first floor?!? "Oh yeah, Ally, you don't have to climb the ladder, we know you're scared of it". Well, maybe I could get the Supreme Court to agree to that, but guess what...I wouldn't want to be the poor soul trapped on the 33rd floor and have me downstairs!

rajah
05-30-01, 02:20 PM
KenMonte,

Thanks. I actually know a lot more about this than I do about baseball, as you probably could surmise.

ally bear,

Did you read my post? The slope is not nearly as slippery as you suggest. First, most courts would not treat fear of heights as a disability. It is an impairment. But what major life activity does it affect? Second, no court would require a fire department to hire fire fighters with a fear of heights. Going up buidlings is clearly essential to the job. Just like hitting a golf ball is to golf.

If Casey couldn't hit a golf ball, he would have to find other work. But he can hit a golf ball. One purpose of the Act is to ensure that disabilities do not prevent people from doing that for which they are fully capable simply because of superfluous and unnecessary rules. If you really have sympathy for Martin, I think you should be able to understand how that purpose might apply to his case. (Maybe it would help to imagine Tiger Woods suffering the same disease, but still being able to make the same extraordinary shots he makes now if he could ride in a cart to get to the ball.)

KLJ
05-30-01, 02:54 PM
obviously the courts disagree with me, but i do feel that walking 18 holes is a vital part of the game.. it's roughly 4 miles.. you can't tell me that some fatigue factor is not involved on the pga tour.. walking the 18 holes may not be as important a skill as actually hitting the ball, but i don't think it's the courts business deciding how important or un-inportant it is.. the fact is, he can't walk the 18 holes.. he cannot do what is required of pga golfers.. i can walk 18 holes, but i can't hit a golf ball straight.. i'm sure most of you think it's a ridiculous comparison, but i don't..
walking the course is an integral part of the pga tour..

if tiger woods had the same illness, i would feel sorry for him and wish him luck in whatever career he chose to pursue..

PettittesPrincess
05-30-01, 11:00 PM
It would be like a midget demanding a ladder in order to play in the NBA. Some times people just need to realize that they can't do everything they want.