14 years ago, on the same Olympic Club course in San Francisco that will be hosting next week’s U.S. Open, a great story was taking place. A man by the name of Casey Martin, in the midst of a legal battle with the PGA that wound up landing in the U.S. Supreme Court that ended with Casey being granted the right to ride in a golf cart during tournaments based upon rules set forth by the American’s with Disabilities Act. Martin has a condition that hampers blood circulation in his legs causing great discomfort when standing, much less walking, and even at one point was considering amputation.
That year Martin finished tied for 23rd at the U.S. Open. Since then, he has all but retired from competitive golf and taken the job as the University of Oregon head golf coach. He coached his team to the NCAA Final Four where they fell to Texas last week. Arriving back in Eugene late Sunday, he and two of his players were scheduled to compete in a qualifying tournament. After 36 poor weather holes and back to back 69’s, Casey Martin will won the tournament and will be competing in the U.S. Open at the same course he became the first golfer to ride a golf cart in a major championship.
He has mentioned he will likely be playing a practice round with college teammate Tiger Woods early next week. This is his first high-level tournament since he became head golf coach at Oregon in 2006. Regardless of his score, he is a player to root for. If he makes the cut, it will be one of the more impressive accomplishments in sports. If he finds a way to be in the running on Sunday, it will be a moment that is sure to leave many with goosebumps and jerk out a few tears. Another great story in sports that will not get the attention it deserves, but if you get the chance next Thursday or Friday, tune in and root for Casey Martin.