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.