High court to decide on disabled golfer’s cart

By LAURIE ASSEO

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court will decide whether disabled golfer Casey Martin has a legal right to ride in a golf cart between shots at Professional Golfers’ Association Tour events.

The court said today it will hear the tour’s argument that a federal anti-bias law does not apply to Martin’s case.

A federal appeals court ruled last spring that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires the PGA Tour to waive its requirement that players walk the golf course during tournaments.

Martin has a circulatory disorder in his right leg that makes it painful for him to walk long distances. The disorder, a congenital vascular condition, is called Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber Syndrome.

Martin sued the PGA Tour in 1997, citing a provision of the ADA that bans discrimination on the basis of disability "in the full enjoyment of … facilities … of any place of public accommodation." The law’s definition of public accommodation includes recreational places such as golf courses.

A federal judge ruled for Martin, saying that allowing him to use a golf cart would not "fundamentally alter" the nature of PGA Tour events.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed last March. "Providing Martin with a golf cart would not give him an unfair advantage over his competitors," said the court, based in San Francisco.

The next day, a Chicago-based federal appeals court ruled the other way in a similar case. Indiana golfer Ford Olinger sued the U.S. Golf Association for the right to ride a cart in the U.S. Open, but the appeals court decided that letting him use a cart would change the nature of competition.

In the appeal acted on Monday, the PGA Tour’s lawyers said the 9th Circuit court’s decision "bars the tour from requiring that all competitors at its events play by the same rules."

"So far as we are aware, no court has ever before held that a professional sport must waive a legitimate competitive rule to enable a would-be participant, disabled or not, to more successfully compete," the tour’s lawyers said.

The tour’s lawyers also said the ruling would open the door to workplace discrimination lawsuits by independent contractors and other non-employees.

Martin’s lawyers said golf "is not a race against the clock or against human endurance" and that allowing him to use a cart would not affect the competition. A ruling for the PGA Tour would allow professional sports to exempt themselves from the ADA, his lawyers added.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road on Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Long live the Speedway! Mukilteo’s main drag won’t be renamed

The public shot down the mayor’s idea to change the name: 77% voted ‘No’ in an online survey, with 95% opposed on Facebook.

Everett
Motorcyclist dies in crash on East Marine View Drive in Everett

Around 8 p.m. Tuesday, a motorcycle and a vehicle crashed into each other at the intersection of 11th street and East Marine View Drive.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Darrington in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Motorcyclist dies in crash on Highway 530

Jeremy Doyle, 46, was riding east near Darrington when he crashed into the side of a car that was turning left.

The Marysville School District office on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘Financially insolvent’ Marysville schools to get unprecedented oversight

Superintendent Chris Reykdal will convene a first-of-its-kind Financial Oversight Committee, he wrote in a letter Tuesday.

Woodside Elementary Principal Betty Cobbs on Monday, June 17, 2024 in Bothell, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett’s first Black principal retires after 51 years

In her office, Betty Cobbs kept a black-and-white photo of herself at age 5: “I am right there, with dreams of becoming an educator.”

Junelle Lewis, right, daughter Tamara Grigsby and son Jayden Hill sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” during Monroe’s Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 18, 2022. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
On Juneteenth: ‘We can always say that there is hope’

The Snohomish County NAACP is co-sponsoring a celebration Saturday near Snohomish, with speakers, music and food.

Granite Falls
Man, 35, dies from heart attack while hiking Lake 22

The man suffered a heart attack about 1½ miles into the 6-mile hike east of Granite Falls on Friday, authorities said.

36 hours after final show, Everett radio host Charlye Parker, 80, dies

When Parker got into radio, she was a rarity: a woman in a DJ booth. For the past 12 years, she hosted weekend country music shows at KXA.

Homeowners Jim and Chris Hall stand beneath their new heat pump, at right, inside their Whidbey Island home on Thursday, Sep. 7, 2023, near Langley, Washington. The couple, who are from Alaska, have decreased their use of their wood burning stove to reduce their carbon footprint. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County to start ‘kicking gas’ in push for all-electric homes

Last year, 118 Whidbey Island homes installed energy-efficient heat pumps. A new campaign aims to make the case for induction stoves now, too.

Dr. Scott Macfee and Dr. Daniel Goodman outside of the Community Health Center on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett CHC doctors, feeling like ‘commodities,’ speak up on ailing system

At the Community Health Center of Snohomish County, doctors say they feel like “rats getting off a sinking ship.” They want it to get better.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Man charged with shooting at ex-girlfriend, child in Mountlake Terrace

The man, 21, showed up to his ex-girlfriend’s apartment and opened fire through the door, new court records say.

People walk along Olympic Avenue past Lifeway Cafe and Olympic Theater that currently hosts Lifeway Church on Friday, July 7, 2023 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Arlington churches waged covert ‘battle’ against Pride event, records show

Sermons, emails and interviews reveal how an LGBTQ+ nonprofit became the target of a covert campaign by local evangelical leaders.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.