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Tuesday, May 29, 2001
Father says Martin can now focus on career

Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The father of golfer Casey Martin says a Supreme Court ruling allowing his son to use a cart on the PGA Tour finally means a shot at a pro career.

"There is no question that I feel a great sense of relief for myself and my son," King Martin said from his office in Eugene.

"Now he (Casey) can go on to thinking about his career on a long-term basis. He'd been forced to take a very short-term view because of this case."

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 on Tuesday that the PGA must allow Casey Martin to use a cart if he qualifies for Tour events.

Casey Martin suffers from Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber Syndrome, which left him with a withered right leg. Martin was born with the syndrome, which restricts blood flow, making it impossible for him to walk the entire length of a golf course.

But Martin, 28, has persisted in his quest for a professional golf career after the PGA threatened to derail it by refusing to allow the cart.

Martin was forced to sue the PGA under the Americans With Disabilities Act, which his lawyer had argued simply opens the door to competition.

"The act is intended to allow Americans to participate, and that is what the court has given Casey -- not an advantage, but the right to participate," Roy L. Reardon, Martin's attorney in New York, said Tuesday.

King Martin said he understood the PGA argument, but he felt the sport lost a chance to deal with the issue positively by fighting it in court.

He said his son felt pressure with all the publicity given to his condition, and wanted instead to focus on his golf.

Casey "wants to be known as a golfer, not as a handicapped person," King Martin said. "His passion and his vocation is golf, and he just wants a chance to prove himself."

But he said the family hopes the ruling will help others with disabilities.

"There have been volunteers and therapists working with people with physical problems who will have a little more bounce in their step today because of this ruling," King Martin said.

He said Casey's leg will remain a problem and likely continue to deteriorate.

But the family is hopeful it will stabilize long enough for Casey to get his game back in shape and qualify for the Tour.

"We're in a race against the clock," King Martin said. "This doesn't remove that clock, it just slows it down a little bit."