'Under the ADA's basic requirements that the need of a disabled person be evaluated on an individual basis,' Justice John Stevens wrote in the majority opinion, 'We have no doubt that allowing Martin to use a golf cart would not fundamentally alter the nature of the petitioner's tournaments.'
Martin had sued the PGA Tour in 1997 claiming that denying him the right to ride a cart during tournament play was a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a 1990 law that bans discrimination against the disabled in housing, employment and public accommodations.
A federal judge ruled in his favor; the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals then upheld the decision in 2000.
But the following day, a Chicago-based federal appeals court ruled against Indiana golfer Ford Orlinger, who sued the USGA for the right to ride in a cart during U.S. Open qualifying. This became the basis for the PGA Tour appeal to the Supreme Court.
The PGA Tour had argued that they were not obligated to comply with the ADA, and that riding in a cart would fundamentally alter the nature of the competition.
'The PGA Tour will continue to welcome Casey as a member and a competitor,' PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement. 'As has been the case over the past three years, he will be furnished with a golf cart for his use in Buy.Com and PGA Tour competitions, and we wish him every success.'
Martin, suffers from Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber Syndrome, a circulatory disorder in his right leg that makes it painful to walk long distances.
Full Coverage of PGA Tour v. Martin
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