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Casey Martin Biography

A Gift For The Game, Who Is Disadvantaged?, Chronology, A Figure Of Controversy, Awards And Accomplishments

1972-

American golfer

How physical is the game of golf? And do professional sports associations have the right to set their own rules? These questions were brought to new light by one golfer, Casey Martin, as he attempted to join the ranks of the Professional Golfers Association (PGA). Martin suffers from a rare birth defect called Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber Syndrome, which severely weakened his right leg. He cannot walk an eighteen-hole course; yet using a golf cart is in violation of PGA Tour rules. In order to play, Martin sued the PGA under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The three-year case ended in a controversial decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A native of Eugene, Oregon, Martin was started in golf by his father, King Martin, at age six. But Casey confessed that his first love was for another sport. "I would have played basketball in a minute" if not for his leg, he told Golf Digest writer Tim Rosaforte. "I can't move, so I can't play." He recalled a lifetime of pain: "I can definitely remember one of the hardest parts about growing up

Casey Martin

was wanting to be active," Martin remarked. "I could never understand when I was done playing sports why I was in so much pain. I knew I had a problem."

Sketch by Susan Salter

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsGolf