Golfer Casey Martin is back at the Olympic Club in San Francisco for the 2nd major championship of the PGA tour season, the US Open. Fourteen years have gone by, but many things remain the same for Martin; the familiar practice round he played with former Stanford teammate Tiger Woods, the intimidating Olympic Club golf course, and yes, Martin’s trusty golf cart.
Martin is afflicted with a circulatory condition known as Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome in his right leg. That ailment is what prompted him to successfully sue the PGA Tour back in 1998 for the right to ride a golf cart during tournament play when he had originally been told he was required to walk the course. Back then, the tour argued that the use of a cart would give Casey an unfair advantage over the rest of the competition. Martin’s condition is not just something that provides discomfort, but rather extreme pain in the right leg. He is forced to stand with all of his weight on the left side of his body. It’s absolutely incredible that he is even able to play golf, let alone at a level high enough for him to qualify for the U.S. Open. When asked how his leg has fared as of late, Martin said: “I’m not complaining. (The leg) is hanging in there. But I’m not going to be running a marathon either.”
After an ultimately unsuccessful stint on the tour, Martin returned to his hometown of Eugene, OR and has taken up coaching the University of Oregon golf team. His practice regiment to get in shape for the qualifying matches and, ultimately the U.S. Open, was certainly not typical. Martin said he did little more than hit some balls when he was with the Ducks golf team.
Martin is aware that winning at one of the most difficult courses anyone will play this year is far from likely. That hasn’t stopped him from enjoying every moment and going into the tournament prepared to play his best golf. It’s apparent that not many things have the ability to stop Martin from doing what he sets out to accomplish.
Indicative of his outlook on the game of golf as well as life in general, Casey Martin went on to say: “I had a wonderful experience in ’98 and I thought it would be fun to try again.” Why not?