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Casey Martin

A Figure Of Controversy

Absent in much of the debate, however, was the reality of daily life for Casey Martin. "It's not hard for Outsiders to overlook his pain, which is belied by his good looks and good nature," wrote Hisley. "He looks more like the impish Matthew Perry of the TV sitcom 'Friends' than a sad invalid." But Hisley saw a video made by Martin's attorneys of the golfer's affected limb. Within moments of being stripped of its protective wraps, "his right knee began swelling and became discolored." To Hisley, critics of the Supreme Court decision "who have not seen that swollen, discolored leg … do not understand that Martin suffers greater fatigue while using a cart than his competitors do while walking." Brian Ettkin in a Sarasota Herald-Tribune column maintained, "Golf is about ball striking and mental toughness.… TV analysts never compliment a player on his authoritative stride down the fairway."

In October, 2002, Martin spoke up for another category of golfers—women who wished to be admitted as members of the male-only Augusta National Golf Club. "I'm extremely conservative in most respects," he said to Steve Ellig in an article for Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, "but on something like this, I think [Augusta National] should be forward-thinking instead of fighting it."

Awards and Accomplishments

1994 Member of NCAA championship golf team
1998 Won Nike Lakeland Classic
1998 Became a spokesman for Nike
1999 Finished fourteenth on the money list with $122,742
2000 Made the cut in fourteen out of twenty-nine starts, PGA Tour
2000 Finished sixth in tour driving distance, 288.3 yards
2000 Finished in top 25 Touchstone Energy Tucson Open
2001 Supreme Court ruled in Martin's favor
2002 Made the cut in five out of fourteen starts, Nationwide Tour

More than a golfer, Martin became a symbol embraced by both sides of the debate. "This goes against Martin's every intention," remarked Richard Hoffer in Sports Illustrated. "It's no fault of his that he has become more important for his news value than his swing. And it's too bad because, if he's not quite mythic, he's certainly decent beyond the requirements of his role." As for Martin, who faces the possibility of amputation, "you cannot devise a scenario where I would rather have my disability and a cart versus having two healthy legs," as he told Rosaforte. "You just can't." Asked what he would trade for two good legs, Martin replied, "All the fame and notoriety I've had. I'd give all that back in a heartbeat."

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsGolfCasey Martin Biography - A Gift For The Game, Who Is Disadvantaged?, Chronology, A Figure Of Controversy, Awards And Accomplishments