The Casey Martin vs. PGA Case Study The accommodation of the handicapped people in society, giving them equal opportunities for achieving their goals is a concern of a society. There is no a word in a Constitution that the people with the disabilities may be deprived of any of the rights provided by the Constitution. The case of Casey Martin vs. PGA Tour is a vivid example of the legal collision which may arise from the misinterpretation of the legal norms and regulations. Martin Casey is a promising golfer who has been impaired from the childhood with a rare disease called Klippel-Trenaunay-Webber Syndrome, which affects his circulation and causes swelling in his right leg. The worsening condition makes it difficult for him to walk, but PGA Tour rules forbid the use of golf carts1. Martin applied to the PGA authorities with the request to use a cart.
PGA denied his request. Martin took the case to court. The case of Martin Casey creates the dilemma of accommodating the impaired people on one hand and creating the equal conditions for participants on the other one. Finally Martin won the case in the Supreme Court which stated that Disabled golfer Casey Martin may use a cart to ride in tournaments, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday, saying federal law requires a leveling of the playing field for the handicapped, even in pro sports2. The case has been resolved in favor of a handicapped sportsman. But the case is not simple at all. PGA argues that its aim is to create the equal conditions for all the participants of the game, on the other hand the essence of golf is not walking from one place to another but in strikes being fulfilled by the sportsmen.
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From this point of view as soon as golf is not a competition in walking or running the sportsmen, namely Martin Casey has the right to use the cart to access the position of a strike. The provisions of ADA (American with Disabilities Act) require certain measures to eliminate the discrimination based on the physical impairment. Title III of the ADA: Private Facilities and Services states: Public accommodations must — Provide goods and services in an integrated setting, unless separate or different measures are necessary to ensure equal opportunity. Eliminate unnecessary eligibility standards or rules that deny individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to enjoy the goods and services of a place of public accommodation. Make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, and procedures that deny equal access to individuals with disabilities, unless a fundamental alteration would result in the nature of the goods and services provided.3 All these measures are aimed to eliminate any discrimination for the people with disabilities. All of them are easy to interpret when it comes to the questions of public facilities like transport, theaters, cinema, restaurants etc. But the case of Martin Casey is connected with the professional sport, a sport that has long traditions and strict rules. Golf is similar to a public show and the spectators have the right to enjoy the show they get accustomed to, especially when it is a professional one.
PGA argues that Martin would have a significant advantage using the cart and thus saving his energy. PGA also states that Casey plays the game different from golf since its rules were originally worked out assuming that the players walk. The supporters of Casey see in his case the discrimination according to the physical condition of a citizen that is prohibited by the law and contradicts to the principle of equality stated in the Constitution. They see the evidence of the discrimination similar to racial one in the Caseys case. Golf’s guardians have rarely been accused of being progressive thinkers. Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus were among those who spoke recently on behalf of the Tour, suggesting that the use of carts by players would imperil the “integrity of the game,”.
The situation has arisen from the dreams of Casey Martin, a golfer who played with Tiger Woods at Stanford was trying in 1998 to make it as a professional golfer. He has Klippel-Trenaunay-Webber syndrome, a congenital circulatory disorder that causes severe swelling in his right leg and foot and makes it all but impossible for him to walk 18 holes. Martin, at the time 25 years of age, wanted to ...
These are the same men who blazed legendary paths across the lawns of whites-only clubs, declining to wave their army of fans into the battle against racial discrimination.4 Citation Julie A. Miller Associated Press Overview of Title III of the ADA: Private Facilities and Services Ian O’Connor Bibliography Julie A. Miller, Does professional golf have right to discriminate?, Catholic Gerald, available at http://www.catholicherald.org/archives/articles/ca sey.html, retrieved 22.11.2005 Associated Press, Supreme Court upholds earlier Martin ruling, June 7, 2001, available at http://sports.espn.go.com/golf/story?id=1206060, retrieved 22.11.2005 Overview of Title III of the ADA: Private Facilities and Services, available at http://www.adaproject.org/TitleIII.html#Anchor-I– 20524, retrieved 22.11.2005 Ian O’Connor, PGA WILL HAVE TO EAT HUMBLE PIE A LA CART, The Daily News, January 18, 1998 available at http://www.adanet.org/GA/casey_martin.html, retrieved 22.11.2005.