Debate continues over Martin's right to use cart


After 11 years, the debate continued Friday over the Supreme Court ruling granting Casey Martin the right to compete in professional golf tournaments using a cart.

In a 7-2 decision handed down in 2001 upholding lower court rulings, the nation's highest court found the PGA Tour had to accommodate disabled players like Martin who qualify for their events under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a member of the PGA Tour in 2001, continues to disagree with the majority opinion. Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens, a golfer, suggested walking is not a fundamental aspect of tournament golf.

'I think if somebody at that time had done a study of caloric expenditures over the course of a round, over the course of a week,' Chamblee said Friday on 'Live From the U.S. Open,' 'and found the cumulative effect that has on your cognitive ability, then you could say walking is definitely part of golf.'

The majority opinion did not agree that the onset of fatigue from walking had a prominent role in golf. In the dissenting opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by fellow golfer Clarence Thomas, felt walking was a fundamental aspect of tournament golf.

Golf Channel contributor John Feinstein recalled the debate among PGA Tour players at the time, saying it was almost impossible to compare the physical toll of walking for able-bodied pros to the pain Martin feels due to a degenerative leg condition. Chamblee disagreed.

'It could be quantified, and I think if they had quantified it,' Chamblee said, 'it probably would have proven the court's decision wrong.'