Just the FAQs Everything You Need to Know About Casey Martin and the Supreme Court
When: Wednesday, Jan. 17 at 10 a.m. EST. (Decision in spring or early summer.)
Where: Supreme Court building, One First Street NE, Washington D.C.
Who: For the PGA Tour, appellate lawyer H. Bartow Farr III, 56, a former law clerk for Chief Justice William Rehnquist, now a partner in the Washington firm of Farr & Taranto. For Casey Martin, New York City appellate specialist Roy Reardon, 71, of the firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.
How: Each lawyer will have 30 minutes to address the nine Justices of the Supreme Court (Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O'Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Steven Breyer, David Souter, and Clarence Thomas). The time limits are strictly enforced. Justices may interrupt with questions, and often do. There are no witnesses.
TV coverage: On Jan. 17, Adam Barr live from Washington at about 11:30 a.m. EST. Golf Central with Adam Barr at 7:30 p.m. EST. Viewers Forum with Adam Barr live at 9 p.m. EST. No cameras are allowed in the courtroom.
Why: In 1997, professional golfer Casey Martin, who suffers from a rare circulatory disorder that makes it impossible to walk the golf course, sued the PGA Tour for the right to use a golf cart in the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament. He convinced a federal court in Eugene, Oregon to grant a temporary injunction requiring the Tour to comply.
In February 1998, the same court held a trial on the issue of whether the temporary injunction should become permanent. Six days of proceedings included testimony from Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Ken Venturi, former U.S. Golf Association president Judy Bell and Martin himself. A dramatic videotape of Martin's afflicted leg upset many in the courtroom. The court decided for Martin.
The PGA Tour appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the federal appeals region in which Eugene is found. That court affirmed the trial court; Martin prevailed again.
The PGA Tour, which had intimated that it would not take the case further, changed its plan in light of the decision in Olinger v. USGA, in which an Indiana golf pro sued the USGA for the right to use a cart in U.S. Open qualifying - and lost. The case was reviewed in a different circuit, and the result stood.
This emboldened the Tour to take the matter to the Supreme Court, which it did on July 5, 2000. On Sept. 26, the Court decided to take the appeal. (In most cases, it is up to the Supreme Court whether it will hear a case.) The Court's acceptance, which requires the consent of at least four Justices, means that at least that many Justices have concerns about the result in the courts below.
What it all means: The Supreme Court may well decide that the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), on which Martin relied in court, was not designed to protect competitors in sporting events.
If that happens, it's likely that the Tour will decide to withstand the public relations hit involved in taking Martin's cart away. Some have speculated that even if the Tour won, it would make a one-time exception for Martin, whom it has been careful to call a fine young man at every opportunity. But just as often, the Tour has stressed the importance of uniformity of competitive rules.
No one denies that Martin is disabled. Also, there is no dispute that Martin is an independent contractor, so he is not covered by Title I, the portion of the ADA that protects disabled employees from discrimination.
The central issue will be whether golf courses used for Tour events are what the Title III of the ADA calls 'places of public accommodation.' In such places, clients and customers seeking services can't be discriminated against on the basis of a disability. Among the places listed in the Act as public accommodations are golf courses and places of exhibition and entertainment.
The Tour will argue that Congress never intended to include the area inside the ropes in the definition of a public accommodation. Just as the audience of a theater is not invited backstage, so the spectators of a golf tournament are not generally invited inside the ropes where the tournament is played, the Tour reasons. Therefore, the ADA would not apply.
The Tour will also argue that the ADA applies only to 'clients and customers' of public accommodations, not workers or performers there.
The Tour will also argue that even if a golf tournament is a public accommodation, allowing Martin to use a cart would 'fundamentally alter' the nature of the of the Tour's primary activity, which is putting on golf tournaments at the highest level of competition. Under the ADA, owners of public accommodations need not make allowances for the disabled if doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of the primary activities done there, even though they admittedly have a public accommodation. That's Congress's way of balancing the interests of the Act with the possible hardships on facility owners.
Martin will argue through his lawyers that Congress indeed intended the inside-the-ropes area to be a public accommodation, rather than to cut out an entire class of people who could benefit from the ADA. Martin's lawyers will also say that the issue of fundamental alteration - the courts below said riding a cart would not fundamentally alter the Tour's business - was tried completely in the trial court, and that that finding should not be disturbed.
The legal issues are complex, and emotions run high on this issue throughout the world of golf. But at the Supreme Court, intellect is supposed to override emotion and passion. The academic crucible of the law will test the assertions of the lawyers - and to a great extent, determine the future of professional golf.
Davies wins Senior LPGA Championship
FRENCH LICK, Ind. -- Laura Davies won the Senior LPGA Championship on Wednesday at chilly and windy French Lick Resort to sweep the two senior major events of the year.
Davies birdied the final hole for a 2-under 70 and a four-stroke victory over Helen Alfredsson and Silvia Cavalleri. The 55-year-old Englishwoman won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open in July at Chicago Golf Club. In March in Phoenix, she tied for second in the LPGA's Founders Cup.
Davies led wire to wire, finishing at 8-under 208 on The Pete Dye Course.
Alfredsson also shot 70, and Cavalleri had a 71. Michele Redman was fourth at 1 under after a 73. Brandie Burton, two strokes behind Davies after a second-round 66, shot 77 to finish fifth at 1 over.
Juli Inkster followed an 80 with a 73 to tie for 12th at 6 over.
Asia offers chance for players to get early jump on season
When the field at this week’s CJ Cup tees off for Round 1 just past dinner time on the East Coast Wednesday most golf fans will still be digesting the dramatic finish to the 2017-18 season, which wrapped up exactly 24 days ago, or reliving a Ryder Cup that didn’t go well for the visiting team.
Put another way, the third event of the new season will slip by largely unnoticed, the victim of a crowded sports calendar and probably a dollop of burnout.
What’ll be lost in this three-event swing through Asia that began last week in Kuala Lumpur at the CIMB Classic is how important these events have become to Tour players, whether they count themselves among the star class or those just trying to keep their jobs.
The Asian swing began in 2009 with the addition of the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, although it would be a few years before the event earned full status on Tour, and expanded in 2010 with the addition of the CIMB Classic. This week’s stop in South Korea was added last season and as the circuit transitions to a condensed schedule and earlier finish next year there are persistent rumors that the Tour plans to expand even more in the Far East with sources saying an event in Japan would be a likely landing spot.
Although these events resonate little in the United States because of the time zone hurdles, for players, the Asian swing has become a key part of the schedule.
Consider that seven of the top 10 performers last year in Asia advanced to the Tour Championship and that success wasn’t mutually exclusive to how these players started their season in Asia.
For players looking to get a jump on the new season, the three Asian stops are low-hanging fruit, with all three featuring limited fields and no cut where players are guaranteed four rounds and FedExCup points.
For a player like Pat Perez, his performances last October virtually made his season, with the veteran winning the CIMB Classic and finishing tied for fifth place at the CJ Cup. All total, Perez, who played all three Asian events last year, earned 627 FedExCup points - more than half (53 percent) of his regular-season total.
Keegan Bradley and Cameron Smith also made the most of the tournaments in Asia, earning 34 and 36 percent, respectively, of their regular-season points in the Far East. On average, the top 10 performers in Asia last year earned 26 percent of their regular-season points in what was essentially a fraction of their total starts.
“It's just a place that I've obviously played well,” Justin Thomas, a three-time winner in Asia, said last week in Kuala Lumpur. “I'm comfortable. I think being a little bit of a longer hitter you have an advantage, but I mean, the fact of the matter is that I've just played well the years I played here.”
Perhaps the biggest winner in Asia last season was Justin Rose, who began a torrid run with his victory at the WGC-HSBC Champions, and earned 28 percent of his regular-season points (550) in the Far East on his way to winning the FedExCup by just 41 points.
But it’s not just the stars who have made the most of the potential pot of Asian gold.
Lucas Glover finished tied for seventh at the CIMB Classic, 15th at the CJ Cup and 50th in China in 2017 to earn 145 of his 324 regular-season points (45 percent). Although that total was well off the pace to earn Glover a spot in the postseason and a full Tour card, it was enough to secure him conditional status in 2018-19.
Similarly, Camilo Villegas tied for 17th in Kuala Lumpur and 36th in South Korea to earn 67 of his 90 points, the difference between finishing 193rd on the regular-season point list and 227th. While it may seem like a trivial amount to the average fan, it allowed Villegas to qualify for the Web.com Tour Finals and a chance to re-earn his Tour card.
With this increasingly nuanced importance have come better fields in Asia (which were largely overlooked the first few years), with six of the top 30 players in the Official World Golf Ranking making the trip last week to Malaysia and this week’s tee sheet in South Korea featuring two of the top 5 in world - No. 3 Brooks Koepka and No. 4 Thomas.
“I finished 11th here last year and 11th in China the next week. If I can try and improve on that, get myself in contention and possibly win, it sets up the whole year. That's why I've come back to play,” Jason Day said this week of his decision to play the Asian swing.
For many golf fans in the United States, the next few weeks will be a far-flung distraction until the Tour arrives on the West Coast early next year, but for the players who are increasingly starting to make the trip east, it’s a crucial opportunity to get a jump on the season.
Watch: Woods uses computer code to make robotic putt
Robots have been plotting their takeover of the golf world for some time.
First it was talking trash to Rory McIlroy, then it was making a hole-in-one at TPC Scottsdale's famous 16th hole ... and now they're making putts for Tiger Woods.
Woods tweeted out a video on Tuesday draining a putt without ever touching the ball:
Coding with my mentee. Combine coding and a little art of green reading and you get YES!!!!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/UTPRTuN79x— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) October 17, 2018
The 42-year-old teamed up with a computer program to make the putt, and provided onlookers with a vintage Tiger celebration, because computers can't do that ... yet.
Woods admits fatigue played factor in Ryder Cup
There was plenty of speculation about Tiger Woods’ health in the wake of the U.S. team’s loss to Europe at last month’s Ryder Cup, and the 14-time major champ broke his silence on the matter during a driving range Q&A at his annual Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach on Tuesday.
Woods, who went 0-4 in Paris, admitted he was tired because he wasn’t ready to play so much golf this season after coming back from a fourth back surgery.
“It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season,” Woods said. “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”
The topic of conversation then shifted to what's next, with Woods saying he's just starting to plan out his future schedule, outside of "The Match" with Phil Mickelson over Thanksgiving weekend and his Hero World Challenge in December.
“I’m still figuring that out,” Woods said. “Flying out here yesterday trying to look at the schedule, it’s the first time I’ve taken a look at it. I’ve been so focused on getting through the playoffs and the Ryder Cup that I just took a look at the schedule and saw how packed it is.”
While his exact schedule remains a bit of a mystery, one little event in April at Augusta National seemed to be on his mind already.
When asked which major he was most looking forward to next year, Woods didn't hesitate with his response, “Oh, that first one.”