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sacm3bill

Casey Martin booted from cart while watching U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier

49 posts in this topic

Casey Martin is in the news again. He was at a qualifier as a spectator, riding in a cart after getting permission from the tournament chairman. The chairman apparently didn't check with the USGA though, who asked him to relinquish the cart after he had used it for 5 or 6 holes.

Originally Posted by Golf.com

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 USGA released a statement on the incident that stops short of an apology:

"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...

I get that it sucks to have to give up the cart once he's been using it, but as an alternative he was offered the exact same accommodations that every other disabled spectator is offered, and it wasn't good enough for him.

He won me over as a nice guy even though I didn't agree with the Supreme Court decision that allowed him to use a cart while competing. But I'm not sure why he expects special treatment over and above any other disabled person.

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Maybe he was upset because he went through the proper channels, got permission, was quietly going about his business and then got told half way through that, actually, it's not OK after all? That would annoy me, too, and I would also just say: "Fine, I'm not going to watch then." Maybe he just didn't want to make a scene or inconvenience the tournament organizers? How do you know it "wasn't good enough for him" or that he "expects special treatment"?

Sounds like you're still not over that particular court decision.

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I think Martin was right to be upset. It sounds like but we don't know for sure, that a single seat scooter type cart was not available so the chairman let him use a normal cart. Then in the middle of the day it was taken away. There were 2 errors made IMO. First was not having the proper handicap scooters available. Second is the USGA being inflexible. This will not reflect well on them in the court of public opinion.

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Casey is the head golf coach at the University of Oregon.  He has made great strides for golf as a player/coach with a physical handicap.  There should be no reason why he could not ride a golf cart during an amateur event that he was observing.

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why doesn't he already have some sort of "scooter" that he takes with him to all tournaments?

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Originally Posted by 460CompMark

why doesn't he already have some sort of "scooter" that he takes with him to all tournaments?


How's he going to get it on an airplane? For college tournaments he probably is OK riding in a normal cart. I don't know the rule.

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Originally Posted by Stretch

Maybe he was upset because he went through the proper channels, got permission, was quietly going about his business and then got told half way through that, actually, it's not OK after all? That would annoy me, too, and I would also just say: "Fine, I'm not going to watch then." Maybe he just didn't want to make a scene or inconvenience the tournament organizers?

Of course he was upset, as anyone would've been. But if he didn't want to make a scene he could've understood that mistakes happen, that the tourney chairman did not actually have the authority to let Martin have a cart, and graciously accepted the same means of transportation that every other disabled spectator is offered. He did not simply say "Fine, I'm not going to watch then" and leave it at that. What he actually said was this:

Originally Posted by Golf.com

"It was brutal, the worst experience of my golfing career," Martin told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday. "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.

Yes, he really did play the Rosa Parks card. So much for not making a scene.

Originally Posted by Stretch

How do you know it "wasn't good enough for him" or that he "expects special treatment"?

Because that's what the article said: He was offered the same transportation that every other disabled spectator is offered, but he declined it.  And he clearly expected special treatment from the start when he asked the tournament for a cart in the first place, since that was not the policy for every other disabled person.

Originally Posted by Stretch

Sounds like you're still not over that particular court decision.

Well since you mention it I'm not actually, in the sense that I still don't believe it was the correct decision (and neither did several of the SC judges of course - it's not like it was unanimous.) But not sure what that has to do with this incident.

Originally Posted by MSchott

I think Martin was right to be upset. It sounds like but we don't know for sure, that a single seat scooter type cart was not available so the chairman let him use a normal cart. Then in the middle of the day it was taken away. There were 2 errors made IMO. First was not having the proper handicap scooters available. Second is the USGA being inflexible. This will not reflect well on them in the court of public opinion.

Where do you get the idea a single seat scooter was not available?

There was one error made: The tourney chairman didn't have the authority to change the rules for Martin.  If I ask the TSA security guard if it's ok to bring my dog on board the airplane because I *really* love my dog, and he says yes, and it turns out later that I get kicked off the plane because that's actually against the rules, I can blame the TSA guy for not knowing the rules, but I'm not going to claim the rules shouldn't apply to me for that reason.

Originally Posted by Fozcycle

Casey is the head golf coach at the University of Oregon.  He has made great strides for golf as a player/coach with a physical handicap.  There should be no reason why he could not ride a golf cart during an amateur event that he was observing.

So all the other disabled spectators who *haven't* made great strides for golf *don't* deserve to get a special cart? Isn't that discrimination?

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We don't know all the facts here, but it's possible Martin asked to use a cart versus a single seat scooter because he didn't want the stigma of being seen on one.  It falls in line with the reasoning why he turned down the scooter when offered one when the USGA informed him that the golf cart wasn't permitted.  If that's the case then he has no gripe with the USGA, and instead needs to deal with his vanity.

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Originally Posted by MSchott

How's he going to get it on an airplane? For college tournaments he probably is OK riding in a normal cart. I don't know the rule.

He could be like John Madden, and just tour all around the United States.  But on a scooter.

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Originally Posted by Beachcomber

He could be like John Madden, and just tour all around the United States.  But on a scooter.

Or John Daly.

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Talk about heavy-handed. The USGA should be ashamed of themselves. Concentrate on what's going on inside the ropes for crissakes...you would think they'd have their hands full with that & not have to be concerned about how Casey Martin gets around the course as a spectator.

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Originally Posted by zipazoid

Talk about heavy-handed. The USGA should be ashamed of themselves. Concentrate on what's going on inside the ropes for crissakes...you would think they'd have their hands full with that & not have to be concerned about how Casey Martin gets around the course as a spectator.

Rules are rules. It's not heavy handed at all IMO - it's simply "fair."

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Originally Posted by iacas

Rules are rules. It's not heavy handed at all IMO - it's simply "fair."

I don't understand the concern over how spectators get around the course. Yes, I get that you can't have hundreds of golf carts out there, but this isn't that.

And if you want to talk "fair," I would contend it is UNfair to not allow a person with a disability to enjoy something people without disabilities can.

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Originally Posted by zipazoid

I don't understand the concern over how spectators get around the course. Yes, I get that you can't have hundreds of golf carts out there, but this isn't that.


I can think of many reasons why they might want to limit the number of full size carts going up and down the paths, but that's not the point nor the topic. For whatever reason, the policy is in place.

Originally Posted by zipazoid

And if you want to talk "fair," I would contend it is UNfair to not allow a person with a disability to enjoy something people without disabilities can.

??? That's not what happened at all. The USGA "extended to Casey accommodations that we offer all disabled spectators at our championships." (Accommodations that apparently are ok with the ADA, otherwise they'd be all over this.) Casey declined that. Apparently making a statement was more important to him than doing his job.

That said, I can imagine he was frustrated and embarrassed, and I probably wouldn't have reacted any better.

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Originally Posted by zipazoid

And if you want to talk "fair," I would contend it is UNfair to not allow a person with a disability to enjoy something people without disabilities can.

Uhm…

Originally Posted by sacm3bill

??? That's not what happened at all. The USGA "extended to Casey accommodations that we offer all disabled spectators at our championships." (Accommodations that apparently are ok with the ADA, otherwise they'd be all over this.) Casey declined that. Apparently making a statement was more important to him than doing his job.

That. They made accommodations for the disabled to get around the golf course and "enjoy" the event.

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I think the USGA rule is absurd. There is a "cripple" or "oldster" stigma attached to using a scooter cart. I understand completely why Martin was upset about first having the circumstances changed on him for no apparently logical reason and secondly, being offered an unsatisfactory alternative. The USGA was being "fair" in the same way that Jim Crow laws were fair - "Hey, we aren't picking on any particular person of color - they ALL get the same back of the bus seats, separate water fountains, and segregated schools." I don't imagine there's any great amount of space being saved by a single scooter versus golf cart - I don't recall seeing any mobility-challenged fans on their own transportation at the two pro tournaments I've attended (I saw a few larger 6-person carts ferrying older people around, but I wasn't particularly paying attention), let alone scores of them stacked up around the tees or greens taking up valuable spectator space, so I don't see a problem with having a few carts per hole versus a few scooters. Is there any rationale behind a scooter versus cart rule, other than to save space? I can't think of one. I think that the USGA can reasonably accommodate a handicapped person without embarassing him/her. But here I am again making points that some of the people on this site despise because I'm one of those damn pinko-types who has this crazy idea that rules (and people too) should be .... gasp ..... fair, logical, and reasonable.
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Originally Posted by zipazoid

I don't understand the concern over how spectators get around the course. Yes, I get that you can't have hundreds of golf carts out there, but this isn't that.

And if you want to talk "fair," I would contend it is UNfair to not allow a person with a disability to enjoy something people without disabilities can.

How do you rate one handicap different than others.  If they are not willing to allow person with a handicap the same cart access then don't allow it at all.  I had knee surgery 2 months ago and was entitled to a HC parking tag.  I opted out but how many HC parking tags do you see in parking lots.  Should all those people be allowed carts as spectators?  They couldn't accommodate that.  Look at football games at the Pro or NCAA levels.  They have specific seating for HC people.  They have specific means to get them there.  If you make an exception for one, you better be able to make it for everyone and that's just not practical.

While it's unfortunate that there was some miscommunication about allowing the cart in the first place sometimes things just happen and you have to roll with it.  A handicap person should have vast experiences in adapting to adversity and Martin should be able to adapt.  Pretty simple really.

And just to clarify, my best friends son is handicapped and we fully expect to encounter difficult situations in accommodating him.  Having the expectation that it can be difficult keeps us from getting upset when that becomes that case, but more often than not it gets worked out.  But we never expected anything special because of his disability.

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I'm a fan of Casey's but one thing I don't get is why hasn't this happened before?  Why didn't he already know about this?  As a coach for several years, you have to figure he's been to more than a few USGA junior events.

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