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Martin: "I went to the Supreme Court, and I know what my rights are."

The USA Today's Jeffrey Martin files a follow up to the Casey Martin story out of Oceanside and while it sounds like everyone was following the letter of the (USGA) laws, common sense went out the window as it did the first time around in Martin's attempts to use a cart.

Only this time, he's a mere spectator on a course where rules officials were no doubt driving all over the place as they are prone to do!

Martin, 41, pleaded with Pawlak, also assistant director of rules, competition and course rating for the Southern California Golf Association.

"I said, 'Man, I went to the Supreme Court, and I know what my rights are. Do they know my story?'" Martin said. "And he said, 'Yes, they know.'

"I said, 'Let me ride this.' He apologized but said he couldn't. I said, 'I know I can use this cart, but if not, can you or someone take me around?' He said, 'We can take you to a point on the course and drop you. We can't cart you around.'"

The SCGA also issued a statement, distancing themselves from the USGA policy they were charged to enforce as hosts of the qualifier:

"We are sorry for the confusion caused by our misunderstanding of how to apply the USGA's policy," the statement read. "We alerted Mr. Martin as soon as we were notified by the USGA that we were not properly enforcing their policy. We then attempted to accommodate Mr. Martin in every way available within the guidelines of the USGA policy, but he declined assistance."

Again, I ask...if they did not have "scooters" available for him to use, doesn't common sense say you provide the next best option, a cart, so that he can do his job?

Having seen Martin in action in a cart at both U.S. Opens he played ('98, '12) and also at the recent Pac-12 Championship, he's far from taking advantage of the privilege of getting a cart and I don't know a coach or player on the planet that begrudges him for using one. And using a cart he certainly shows better respect for sensitive turfgrass than many of the rules officials who abuse the privilege!

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Reader Comments (57)

I don't begrudge Martin using a motorized vehicle, either as spectator/college coach or as a competitor.
And I agree that the common sense and charitable thing would have been to provide a cart or vehicle of some type. Is it a liability issue that caused the USGA refusal?

What I don't know is the legal obligation of the USGA in such a situation. It would seem an organization of that size would have lawyers who have weighed in, advised them. Some of the comments on the initial thread seem to indicate that the event sponsors have a legal duty to provide some means of getting around the course.

And I still fail to understand why Martin, afflicted by a permanent problem, has not acquired his own motorized wheelchair or scooter.

If he knows his rights and they include having a cart available at this event his lawyer will surely file a claim. That's what attorneys do.
USGA = deep pockets.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered Commentergov. lepetomane
Imagine if he was doing something truly sinister, like anchoring? And we wonder why golf gets a bad rap at times....

C'mon, Casey! While we're young!

Let the guy live his life and watch the event. He cleared it with the local officials before the event according to the report. Therefore, no need to bring his own scooter.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlvy Singer
Incorrect. He did need to arrange for a scooter because spectator carts are not permitted at USGA qualifiers or their event proper. I fail to see how Casey isn't using his affliction to his advantage in this situation. He could have rented one on the U Of Nike expense sheet but instead chose to contact the tournament administrator who as anyone else would have done including me just given him a cart.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner
Can football, basketball, and baseball recruiters gain field of play access during competitions? Also, claiming golf is treated as a non revenue sport by colleges is laughable. Teams seem to have plenty of money from boosters and commercial outlets.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered Commenterpanco
AC -- referencing and relying on the article that said he called and arranged for the cart from the tournament director. To me, if that is indeed correct, Casey did all he needed to do. Having him removed from the cart after "5 or 6" holes and after it was provided to him by the tournament site (I'm assuming for a moment that he didnt just jump on it with his own keys and scoot away...) seems like unnecessary activism. At the very least, the communication of the policy was ineffective and resulted in a horribly humiliating scene. No good comes from this. Just a bad story for the game. Extremely unfortunate.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlvy Singer
idiots cant have a cart for him?
06.26.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchicago pt
Ah, pt, as ever a poet in lower case.

Interesting that the most notorious stories regarding rules involve a 14 year old and a disabled adult who has already been on the rules radar for a long time. Strikes me as selective and bullying "prosecution".
06.26.2013 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
I can think of a lot of reasons another coach would begrudge Casey, getting beat by him with kids that another coach was recruiting being the main reason. Nobody begrudges a loser.

I posted a few comments on a previous thread, what if they let Casey take a cart as long as he drives no faster than another coach walks. Another "out of the box" viable solution.
Frankly, I am amazed at the lack of compassion that some people have for people with real disabilities. It is undisputed that Martin has a real disease that makes walking miles over uneven ground impossible. Furthermore, he didn't "cause" his problem by anything that he did.

The idea that riding a cart will allow him some magic advantage is simply laughable. First, the coaches are going to be recruiting based upon what shows up on a scorecard and by what they see on the range. Second, any "advantage" Martin got from "seeing" more players would likely be offset by the spectacle of being the only one who cannot walk.

One thing that the USGA (and its fanboys) need to get through their thick skulls is that the USGA does not have the power to make “laws” in the area of disabilities. If they keep treating people like Martin like this, they are opening the door for courts to interfere with their affairs.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Ford
"We then attempted to accommodate Mr. Martin in every way available within the guidelines of the USGA policy, but he declined assistance."

If this means an alternative (approved) vehicle, where's the problem? If it only means the offer of a lift to some place on the course, it sounds inconsistent with the willing help Martin had been offered in the first place.

Not sure how well Martin does "know [his] rights." The Supreme Court case -- based on the utterly idiotic action of the PGA Tour -- was pretty specific, as I recall -- it allowed him the use of a cart while in competition. Apparently USGA rules do not permit them to spectators. Under the ADA, i tappears the USGA has some obligation to provide for the disabled at this event. What is not yet clear is whether in fact there were some sort of mobility vehicles available at this event, whether Martin was offered one, and if not why not in both instances. If they had them, surely Pawlak would have advised the use of one in the first place? And if they did not have them, the USGA's position becomes very untenable indeed, let alone insensitive to the point of brutal.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGhillie
Ghillie -- feel your last two sentences get to the heart of the matter.

And, I still cant get past the point that Casey called and cleared it with the site. He was allowed on a cart and was using a cart. But then officlas get a call, go find him and remove him from the cart! Good God...just abhorrent.

And this "aint" exactly the U.S. Open. How many spectators were out there...2? 15? 50? I mean, c'mon...

I don't think we've heard the last of this one.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterZelig
Golf is all about the rules making the playing field level for all. Some rules are perfect (a double hit counts as 2 strokes) and others are not (too many to pick one). In this case Casey as a spectator is bound by the same cart rules as any other spectating NCAA golf coach. Luckily for him the USGA allows single scooter thingeys for persons with disabilities. But he didn't ask for one of those. He asked for and was given a golf cart which is technically and explicitly AGAINST the rules.

Should the cart rules change for Casey? I certainly would give him a cart but who are we to decide something so important and tectonic plate moving as this.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner
Lee Watson,
A single person scooter thingey will help accomplsish your demand or is it a wish?
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner
I am sure that he 'Feels' that he is special, but he is not! So, it is time that he gets over himself! A lot of people have problems and they don't get treated special either!
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTiredProgrammer
Since when do the Rules of Golf govern spectators ??? For me at least, there are policies and procedures and then there are the Rules of Golf. This falls under a policy in my opinion...and a bad one at that. And one that the host site obviously feels is abhorrent as well. Shameful, really.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMoribund
Why not let ALL interested college coaches register at the USGA junior events as "volunteers" rather than be considered spectators? That way, ALL of them can zip around the course on their little USGA-provided regular golf carts to their heart's content. To be honest, the coaches aren't just spectating as are typical parents/friends - college coaches are doing part of their evaluation/recruitment when they watch these kids. And are any of the kids going to be upset that college coaches are at the event and watching? That is exactly what the juniors and their families (parents, especially) want!

Doesn't this solve everyone's issues? Casey is getting no advantage over other coaches who choose to attend as all will have carts, the USGA doesn't look like heartless bastards, and the kids have a greater possibility of having a college coach see them on the course. My guess is there is some USGA rule banning this, but it sure seems like an easy fix.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRickABQ
I'm blown away by some of these responses. Casey Martin simply wants to do his job, live his life, and practice his avocation in a way that allows him to do so on a par (although still physically handicapped) with everyone else. Entitlement is the last thing this guy is about. Heaven forbid your son ever needed the courage, fortitude and stamina to accomplish what Martin has accomplished, and on multiple fronts.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPasaplayer
tlavin, i wish i had some poetry in my soul but alas the Big Guy gave me none....

this is so bad its hard to believe: the guy who won a SUPREME COURT case to use a cart while PLAYING is told to get out of it while about no common sense or sense of decency

and i hat to admit it but tlavin seems right that selective prosecution might be the case here....were they picking on him because they beat him in court?
06.26.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchicago pt
Pasa, it's pure jealousy, simple as that. Kinda sad really...
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Ironically, the USGA cannot issue a rule that keeps the ball and the clubs in check (which do give people playing the game an advantage) but feels that making sure people don't have "spectating advantages" is a priority.

To deal with the problem with the modern ball, I hear that they are going to start regulating color in 2014.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterUncle Fester
He wasn't a spectator. He was doing his job.

It is a public venue.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered Commenterrotundpuckstopper
Chicago pt, it was the PGA Tour involved in the supreme court case, not the USGA, so he didn't " beat them" .

Part of it may be a precedent. If you allow one person with a disability a golf cart, they you would surely have to allow everyone with a disability a cart as well (that would surely be a lawsuit if it was inconsistent). Say a local organization that is involved with disabled persons shows up to a golf event with a busload of folks that may need a cart to get around the course, what is reasonable to accommodate? Should there be 50-100 scooters/carts available at every golf event in the US just in case? Who pays for that? What would happen if 20 people showed up at the Masters that had disabilities and wanted a cart to drive around in? What happens if someone with a cart has an accident or injures someone? I've seen a fair number of cart accidents over the years, so it does happen. Is the club liable? Is the organization liable? I'm not taking a side, but there are a lot of things to consider before just making a cart available to anyone who needs one as some posters have written.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBIll
My 2 daughters in Austin wer at the Capitol until 4 this morning supporting a filibuster, and then a vote which retained women's rights- one needs to go to the story for more details.

At 1 this morning I texted them of how proud I am for them being my daughters, and they thanked me for raising them as I have. I have nevr been so proud.

Martin is fighting for those who have no voice, and I back him all the way. Anyone who thinks he takes advantage of his situation has never seen him getting out of a bunker, or simply walking up the slope of a green. When you see his leg as the wind blows his pants, it makes one wonder how his leg has not just snapped.

I salute Martin, and my kids, who are out there fighting for those who cannot.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
How is it on par for Casey to be able to use a golf cart to potentially see more junior SoCal studs than any other NCAA coach in attendance at this qualifier. DTF is right and unfortunately Casey is wrong and was wronged. But until the USGA either changes their spectator cart rule or is forced to change it he should follow the rules set forth by the event organizer which in this case is
far Far Hills.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner
Bill, by "them" I meant the "golf establishment"....
06.26.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchicago pt
The USGA is so full of crap its incredible. This cart policy of theirs is against the law. Casey is handicap, he needs a cart, give him one.

What a bunch of arrogant do gooders.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered Commentervwgolfer
Against what law?
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner
AC, your number has come you want to punch your Jackass Invite ticket at 7.30 on Friday?
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Would a sportswriter attending the event be entitled to a golf cart if s/he needed one to "do her job"? Or would her employer make sure she was properly equipped or that the venue had the approved conveyance available for her use? Especially if during the previous week, a similar snafu had occurred. Simple as that, really.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
I seriously doubt it is against the law. There are all sorts of reasons, some suggested above, as to why carts might not be permitted to the public at large.

The PGA Tour was forced to accept Martin's argument years ago. The USGA was not. The no carts for spectators rule sounds eminently sensible to me -- what is wrong here is that Martin had an agreement with the organiser, which the USGA stepped in and officiously overrruled.

The suggestion made above -- that Martin and those in the same role be considered Tournament volunteers and all awarded carts -- sounds like the most sensible thing yet. If spectators were allowed carts, can you imagine the congestion at a popular event? It would be lunacy. And Obese America would use them in preference to Shank's Pony all too often.

And, upon reflection, I wonder if these venues do have scooters available for the use of (some of) the disabled. What they would not be able to do is prohibit the entry of one if a disabled patron turned up in one. As someone has mentioned, if Martin is all that disabled, why does he not have one of his own? THAT could be covered by the ADA. Meantime, the volunteer category might just work -- these are unlikely to be events attended to the extent that Tour events are.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGhillie
Betcha Dan Jenkins showed up at this same event and he gets a cart no questions asked and not a word is said about it by the USGA.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
VW golfer...if you were running a golf event, what would your cart policy be? Would you hand them out to everyone who had a disability? What would you do about training (as not everyone knows how to operate a cart safely)? What if they were only 10 years old? What would you do if one of the carts was involved in an accident? How would you determine how severe the disability has to be to qualify? Who would pay for any additional carts that may be needed to handle these requests?

Sorry for all the questions, but nothing is as simple as "he has a handicap, give him a cart", because you can't do something for Casey Martin, and then change the policy for others that follow. While Casey Martin probably is fully capable of operating a cart correctly and knowing cart etiquette, what do you do about others who may not be so aware? Again, if you have a generic policy of giving anyone with a disability a better have a plan to ensure that everyone that has access to one is fully capable of using it correctly and safely. Unfortunately we live in a very litigious society, so while it may seem "mean" to have certain rules and policies, if those policies aren't in place and something happens...then guess who gets sued? Those who didn't have the policy in place.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBIll
It is truly a shame that there's no deep-pocketed corporation in Oregon or associated with Oregon athletics who could help out by paying for an individual conveyance for Martin and the costs of transporting it. Or perhaps a college classmate who could use some good PR these days. Yes, this truly is an insuperable problem.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered Commenterringer
DTF, et alia - It's not being a jackass to impartially analyze whether the USGA and/or the course operator complied with the ADA. Amen Coroner is right to raise the issue and I tend to agree that legally at least, the USGA is in pretty good shape. If you want to feel sorry for/empathize with/support Casey in his struggle, or bitch about the blazers is one thing. But from what I've read on this, Casey doesn't know as much about the ADA as he might think he does.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGinGHIN
As a former USGA employee, I know that the rule regarding media and carts is as follows: No chance you're going to get your own cart but a USGA staff member will periodically take groups of media members out to designated spots on the course (they won't pick you up though so be prepared to walk).

Here is what the USGA photographer guidelines say:
The use of golf carts or other means of transportation on the
course during a championship is prohibited. See a communications
department staff member for allowable exceptions at
championships other than the three Opens.

Also, Dan Jenkins wouldn't be given a cart to ride on his own, I can assure you.

Lastly, the point everyone is missing is that Martin was arguing with a SCGA rep, not a USGA employee. I'm sure he had a billion other things on his plate than this and was just trying to follow protocol, which he did. Casey should've dialed Far Hills instead of being a media crybaby.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJJ
When dealing with laws, and lawyers, we generally don't know as much as we think we do. I got to listen in on a conversation with a friend (non-lawyer) and a lawyer(1). They were discussing advice another lawyer(2) had given in reference to his business. Basically he interpreted lawyer(2) as saying do these 2 things and you are 'good to go.'

Lawyer(3) who was in the lawyer(2) meeting came up and clarified that no he wasn't told he was 'good to go', but that you are less likely to get caught and charged huge fines if you do those things.

With Mr. Martin he seems to have interpreted the SCOTUS ruling as he gets a cart anywhere he goes in golf. That's probably not what the ruling said.

(disclaimer most times I miss a putt after walking up the huge hill on the 16th hole of my home course I quietly think 'sure walking isn't an integral part of the game')
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMattS
GinGhin, the Jackass Invite comment was on something completely unrtaed to this topic, AC knows what I'm referring to. In this case it's a positive thing ;)
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
JJ, if the SCGA golf official (Pawlak) has "a million things on his plate" and is making mistakes all over the place how can you assure that he wouldn't allow Jenkins the use of a cart?

Funniest part about all this is AC has assumed my normal letter-of-the-law role and I have assumed KLG's bleeding heart role and KLG is thinking like, well, George Bush?!? Naaaah.... ;)

(edit prior post: unrelated)

(AC, clock is ticking, fill or kill)
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
DTF thanks for exposing yourself again as a person not able to engage in meaningful and appropriate internet blog discourse.

I pose the same questions as before: do you throw clubs and spit in cups because that parralel could be easily drawn based upon your impolite and unfunny posts here.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner
I thought you might be referring to Bpage but wasn't sure. RES is a Tuesday golfer so we can not make it on Fridays. Sorry for misinterpreting the Johnny Knoxville reference but nonetheless it was out of place on this thread. Please change the name of our impending foray on the next go around.
06.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner

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