Golf carts are back on the PGA Tour.
Ok. I’ts only for Monday pro-ams, and it’s designed to help raise money for the tournaments and their charities. And it’s not new: carts have been used on Mondays in the past. But I think its interesting—nay, slimy— that they have reappeared only after Casey Martin was safely out of the way.
Martin, if you will remember was the aspiring pro golfer who—because of a painful leg condition—sued the PGA for the right to use a cart in competition. The case went to the Supreme Court, which sided with Martin. Martin never really broke through, however, and the issue became moot.
But now that Martin has officially retired, the carts are back.
Henry Hughes, chief of operations for the PGA Tour, told ESPN that carts were not used during the Martin dispute becasue the tour was concerned about the image of its players. Hughes also noted that the Monday pro-ams were having trouble making money because the paying customers were forced to walk.
But what the PGA Tour left unsaid was “And now that the cripple is out of the way, we can go back to business as usual.”
As a handicapped person (deaf as doorknob, I am), I have always been conflicted on the Martin issue. I think accomodations need to be made, but not if they change the very nature of things. As I’ve said many times, I would never sue for the right to become a telephone operator (do they even have those anymore?). I’ve also got small hands but would never sue a football league to force them to let me use a smaller ball.
Walking is a part of golf. Without the stamina factor, a golf tournament is just a ball hitting spectacle.
But this PGA reversal on the carts just rubs me wrong. At the very least, they could have waited until the body was cold. But Martin only hung up his cleats after failing at Q school this past October.
I wonder if now they’ll reverse themselves on carts for the Champions Tour.