PGA Tour vs Casey Martin Essay

This essay has a total of 1129 words and 6 pages.

PGA Tour vs Casey Martin



PGA Tour vs. Casey Martin








The situation has arisen from the dreams of Casey Martin, a golfer who played with Tiger
Woods at Stanford was trying in 1998 to make it as a professional golfer. He has
Klippel-Trenaunay-Webber syndrome, a congenital circulatory disorder that causes severe
swelling in his right leg and foot and makes it all but impossible for him to walk 18
holes. Martin, at the time 25 years of age, wanted to ride in a cart from shot to shot,
as he did in college, but the PGA had strict rules about not doing that. Golfers on the
Senior Tour can use carts (not all do), but those on the regular tour and the minor-league
Nike Tour “shall not use automotive transportation,” according to the PGA. The PGA Tour
does allow carts in the early rounds at qualifying school. Martin went to court, citing
the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If Casey Martin, a disabled professional
golfer, gained an advantage over his competitors by using a cart then the PGA would have
been correct in not allowing him to use a cart. However, if he did not gain an advantage,
the Americans with Disabilities Act would require the PGA Tour to let him use a cart to
overcome a painful circulatory disorder that prevents him from walking the course.

Martin still faces some formidable obstacles. Professional golf is a grind under the best
circumstances, and it’s not clear yet whether the degenerative condition in Martin’s leg
will allow him to persevere on the Tour even with the aid of a cart. Tour officials argue
that by law and on principle on outside agency has no right to interfere with tournament
golf. They also say it’s a technical issue. Walking is an integral part of the game, and
stamina is a perquisite for success. Martin and his attorneys argue that federal law,
ADA, requires the Tour to provide equal access for the disabled. To outside players it
just seems that if the guy can hit golf shots, he ought to be allowed to hit golf shots,
regardless of how he gets from one hole to the next.

Let’s take the technical issue first. Casual observers may scoff with Mark Twain that
golf is just “a good walk spoiled.” But anyone who confuses competitive golf with a
stroll in the park should remember the last time they walked five or six miles over hills,
or the last time they did that for four days in a row under crunching psychological
pressure. Traditionalists like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Tom Watson support the
Tour’s view that walking is an indispensable feature of competitive golf. For example,
they point to Ken Venturi’s victory in the Open at Congressional in 1964, when he
staggered through his second eighteen holes delirious from heat exhaustion.
Traditionalists object that by conserving energy Martin gains an advantage when riding in
a cart, and they seem to have a point.

Some people say that walkers have a clear advantage over riders, because riding disrupts
the player’s rhythm and hinders their intuitive feel for the course. They feel that
riding a cart is more tiring than walking a round of golf. And if Ken Venturi had
properly hydrated himself, he would not have had to stagger up the last fairway on his way
to winning the 1964 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club. Charles Dotson, a professor
of sports psychology, wrote in Golfweek Magazine that they have calculated that a touring
pro utilizes approximately 25% of his maximum energy to walk 18 holes. The report states,
that walking enhances fitness and there for allows the professional to gain muscle and to
ward off fatigue. Walking allows the touring pro to maintain a more consistent level of
energy expenditure. Tour pros who ride experience varying levels of energy expenditure,
ranging from a “rest” state while sitting to an energy “elevation” required to get out of
the cart and hit the next shot.

Beyond the walking issue, Tour officials argue that the courts have no right to fool with
the rules of the game at all. Again, they seem to have a point. But the Tour has some
unfortunate history working against it here. This is the organization that until 1961 had
a “Caucasians-only” clause. To the public, Martin’s case probable seem more in common to
the struggle of Charlie Sifford, the talented African-American golfer who fought the color
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