Casey Martin: 10 years Later

This from our friends over at 72strokes, where they covered a great story on Casey Martin and his 4-year legal battle with the PGA Tour that ended in 2001. Martin was a three-time all Pac-10 and was a member of Stanford University’s NCAA Championship team in 1994. He suffers from a rare and painful leg disability, fought the PGA Tour for the right to use a golf cart in competition. He ultimately took his case all the way to the Supreme Court where he emerged victorious.

Riding in a cart didn’t turn out to be the advantage than many though it would be:

Maybe on a 120-degree day or on a really hilly course it helped to ride,” Martin said. “But I certainly wish I could’ve walked. The rhythm of the game at a competitive level is a walking rhythm, not a riding rhythm.”

After struggling to remain competitive on the golf course, Martin retired from professional golf five years ago. He’s now the head coach for the University of Oregon’s golf team, which he’s turned into a national powerhouse.

Overall, Casey Martin’s PGA story wasn’t filled with big wins – He played a year on the PGA Tour, but mostly knocked around golf’s minor league. His accomplishments were not big, but they were meaningful.

“In the end it worked out great,” Martin said. “I got a chance to legitimately pursue my career. It made a massive impact on my life for the better.”

Martin’s fight has served as inspiration for other athletes to pursue their dreams, and a lesson that a disability doesn’t have to come with preset limits.

Northern Ireland – A Golfing Wonderland

Northern Ireland has a population of less than two million people – roughtly the same number of people as Nebraska – and covers the same amount of land as Connecticut. But this tiny place has produced three major champions in the past 13 months. With Darren Clarke’s recent victory at Royal St. George, Northern Ireland has garnered the attention of the golfing world. So, how does Northern Ireland do it?

When McIlroy tweeted his congratulations to Clarke, he added: “Northern Ireland…Golf Capital of the world!!” The credit goes not just to the golfers but also to the links they play. The courses at Newcastle and Portrush are listed two of the best in the world. Throw in Royal County Down, and a number of others and you easily have a golf trip that will be remembered for a long time. With the win at Royal St. George, Clarke has moved to No. 30 in the world rankings (ranked 111th before championship) giving Northern Ireland three of the top-30 players in the world..

We have fantastic golf courses, we have fantastic facilities. But to have three major champions from a little small place in a short period of time, it’s just incredible

– Graeme McDowell (2010 U.S. Open Champion)

After Darren Clarke’s astounding Open win and Rory McIlroy’s mesmerizing triumph at the US Open, Tourism Ireland has pumped in £1.8m promotional campaign to bring thousands of golf fans to Northern Ireland. “The time is now right to bring a major international golf tournament to Northern Ireland,” Arlene Foster, the NI tourism minister said. “Golfers spend more money than normal visitors,” Clair Balmer from Tourism Ireland said. “They spend an average of £400 per day, whereas a normal visitor spends about £37 per day. It’s that high end which would be really great for us to have.” If the campaign goes well, it is believed to bring an astonishing £ 80M to the North Ireland Economy.

Why was Ian Poulter in such a hurry?

In a tournament earlier this year, Ian Poulter sprinted from the 17th tee all the way to the green, putted out, and then teed off on 18 while his playing partner Dustin Johnson was still on the green and Phil Mickelson’s group was just walking off the 18th tee.

Why the rush?

By putting a ball in play on the 18th, Poulter and Johnson were able to finish their round even though the horn sounded to end play. If the horn had sounded while they were still playing the 17th, they would have had to show up for a 7:30ish tee time this morning, play one hole, and then hang around for a few hours to start their 4th round.

I think DJ owes Poulter a drink for getting him a few extra hours of sleep this morning.

Derek is a guest blogger on the Scratch Pad. To view more of his daily posts, visit

Great Swings: Sam Snead

When Gary Player says it’s the greatest swing of all time and when Lee Trevino says that’s the swing he would teach to his children, then that’s a swing to pay attention. We’re talking about Slammin’ Sammy, holder of the record for most wins on the PGA tour at 82 (or 83 as some proponents would contend).

Sam was always focused on Rhythm. He learned to play barefoot, which is perhaps his secret. There are many beautiful swing montages of Sam’s swing. Just watching them is enough to improve your game.



Sam Snead is perhaps best described by Jim Mclean, himself one of the best teachers in the game:

Some have said he was the greatest athlete ever to pick up a golf club. Some say he was the greatest player of all time. Some refer to his 81 victories on the PGA Tour, the most ever. Some say his shooting under his age in a PGA Tour event was the most amazing fact (a 66 at age 67). Some might argue it was that he shot 60 at age 71 on the challenging, par-72 Upper Cascades course. It’s hard to hang one tag on Sam Snead, but if I had to, I believe it would be “He had the sweetest swing in the history of the game”.