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Casey Martin, who sued the PGA Tour in 2001 for the right to ride a golf cart in tour events and won citing the Americans with Disabilities Act, was told by the U.S. Golf Association on Monday that his cart was not allowed at a U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier in Oceanside, Calif.
Martin, born with a debilitating birth defect in his right leg that makes walking difficult, is the golf coach at the University of Oregon.
According to USA Today Sports, Martin cleared his plan to ride his cart at the tournament with chairman Matt Pawlak, also the director of rules. But after five or six holes, Martin was told he was not permitted to ride as a spectator.
"It was brutal, the worst experience of my golf 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."
Martin pleaded with Pawlak, according to USA Today Sports.
"I said, 'Man, I went to the Supreme Court, and I know what my rights are. Do they know my story?' " he told USA Today Sports. "And he said, 'Yes, they know.' "
The USGA released a statement apologizing to 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."