Casey Martin and his cart are headed back to The Olympic Club for the U.S. Open.
Martin, who successfully
sued for the right to ride a cart because of a rare circulatory disorder
in his right leg, earned a spot in the U.S. Open on Monday night when
he holed a 5-foot par putt in darkness on the final hole at Emerald
Valley Golf Club.
The 40-year-old Martin, now
the golf coach at Oregon, turned with his hands on his hips and looked
toward the darkening clouds after making the putt for a 36-hole score of
138. Had he missed, he would have been in a three-man playoff for two
He had planned on going to North Carolina next week to watch recruits in a junior tournament.
"This is a little better," Martin told the Golf Channel.
Martin, a Stanford teammate
of Tiger Woods at Stanford, has Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome, a
rare circulatory disorder that causes severe pain and makes it virtually
impossible for him to walk 18 holes. He sued the PGA Tour and won the
right to use a cart in 1998, and the U.S. Open allowed him to use it at
Olympic in 1998 when he qualified for the U.S. Open. He tied for 23rd.
Martin earned his way onto
the PGA Tour in 1999 and eventually won his lawsuit to ride a cart. He
failed to keep his PGA Tour card after one year, and eventually became
the golf coach at Oregon. But with the U.S. Open returning to Olympic,
and a qualifying site so close to home, he decided to give it a try.
Martin had not played golf in nine days because of the NCAA
Championships at Riviera, where the Ducks reached the semifinals on the
"I was just going to play golf," he said. "And if I got hot, great."
Martin opened with a 69
over the first round, and he started to think this was in the cards on
the eighth hole. He couldn't find an errant tee shot, but just when he
was about to go back to the tee to play his third shot, his caddie found
the mud-covered ball in the rough. Martin wound up chipping in from 30
yards for birdie after what had looked like a sure double bogey.
He stumbled coming in with
bogeys on the 16th and 17th, yet he insisted on finishing in the dark
because he was exhausted from the NCAAs last week.
"I wanted to get it done
because I need to sleep," he said. "I'm exhausted. I really just wanted
to rest. I should not have putted, but I'm very glad I did."
It didn't take long for him
to look toward next week at Olympic, a tough golf course built on
tree-lined property that leads down to Lake Merced.
"I'll be nervous," he said.
"It's really hard. I want to be excited, but I know when I get on the
first tee, it's going to be difficult."
2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not
be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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