Casey Martin — the Oregon golf coach who successfully sued the PGA Tour for the right to use a cart because of a rare circulatory disease — has had his right leg amputated.
- American golfer Casey Martin won a US Supreme Court case in 2001 against the PGA to allow him to use a golf cart because of his degenerative leg condition
- The PGA argued golf was a walking game where fatigue was a key factor and said a golf cart could provide a competitive advantage
- Martin qualified for the US Open in 2012 and has been the golf coach at the University of Oregon since 2006
Golf Digest magazine said Martin had surgery on Friday local time and was recovering at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Martin told Golf Digest that having his leg amputated was always going to be “my destiny”.
Martin suffered from Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome, which restricted circulation in the lower portion of his right leg and made it virtually impossible for him to walk 18 holes.
He still managed to practice and play well enough to earn a PGA Tour card for the 2000 season.
His lawsuit citing the Americans with Disabilities Act made it all the way to the US Supreme Court, which voted 7-2 in his favour in a 2001 decision that allowed him to use a cart.
The PGA had fought Martin for years, arguing that golf was a walking game that was designed to force players to show their skills in shot-making while fatigued.
Famous players like Arnold Palmer were called as witnesses to testify that using a golf cart could provide a competitive advantage to a player.
Martin, a teammate of Tiger Woods on Stanford’s national championship team, has been the head golf coach at Oregon since 2006.
He qualified for the US Open in 2012.
Golf Digest said Martin, 49, broke his right leg two years ago, which eventually led to the decision to amputate when being in a cast and a series of injections failed to heal the tibia.
“In many ways, I exceeded what my doctors told me as a kid,” Martin told Golf Digest two weeks ago.
Jeff Quinney, the 2000 US amateur champion and assistant coach at Oregon, will take over while Martin recovers.