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Casey Martin, USGA clash over golf cart at tournament

June 26, 2013|By David Wharton
  • Oregon golf Coach Casey Martin, shown in an undated file photo, clashed with USGA officials over his use of a golf cart at a U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier in Oceanside. Martin suffers from a debilitating birth defect that makes walking painful.
Oregon golf Coach Casey Martin, shown in an undated file photo, clashed… (Getty Images )

Thought the Casey Martin golf cart controversy was a thing of the past?

Think again.

It was back in 2001 when Martin, who suffers from a debilitating birth defect that makes walking painful, sued the PGA Tour for the right to drive a cart while playing tournaments. He won by citing the Americans with Disabilities Act.

On Tuesday, Martin again clashed with golf officials over cart use.

This time, Martin was working in his current role as the coach at Oregon, watching young players at a U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier in Oceanside, when USGA officials told him to remove his cart from the course.

"It was brutal, the worst experience of my golf career," Martin told USA Today. "The long story short: I'm living my life, doing my job and it sucked to have that taken away. I felt like I got on the bus and they ordered me to the back or even to get off."

The USGA has a longstanding policy about cart use by players and caddies at its championships. Disabled spectators can drive a single-rider, scooter cart from hole to hole -- if such carts are available -- or can be transported to certain viewing spots along the course.

Martin said he had spoken with officials in advance about his need to ride. He was given a normal-sized cart but was stopped five or six holes along. The USGA says he was offered alternate transportation to specified locations but declined.

The association issued a statement:

"The United States Golf Assn. has been and continues to be a strong supporter of Casey Martin. The unfortunate situation at the U.S. Junior qualifier stems from a misunderstanding over the USGA Cart Policy at our championship events. We regret that this misunderstanding may have caused Casey an inconvenience, but it certainly was unintentional. We have extended to Casey accommodations that we offer all disabled spectators at our championships. Despite this unfortunate situation, we continue to admire what Casey has been able to accomplish in the game as both a player and a coach."

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