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Martin feels 'discriminated against' after cart denial

Casey Martin in the 2012 U.S. Open practice round
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NORTH PLAINS, OR - AUGUST 28: Anna Grzebien tees off on the 15th hole during the first round of the Safeway Classic on August 28, 2009 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)  - 

Casey Martin was denied the use of a cart Monday while scouting a potential recruit at a U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier in Oceanside, Calif.

Martin, 41, successfully sued the PGA Tour in 2001 for the right to ride in a cart at events because of a rare circulatory disorder in his leg. The USGA allowed him to use a cart at the U.S. Open after qualifying in 1998, and since then he has been permitted to ride as a competitor at subsequent Opens and qualifiers without incident.

Martin, now the head coach at the University of Oregon, said he cleared the use of a cart beforehand with tournament officials, but on the sixth hole at El Camino Country Club was told by a Southern California Golf Association official that he couldn’t use the cart, per USGA regulations.

“I was stunned,” Martin told on Monday. “Since 1999, every time I’ve been to a golf course I’ve been accommodated 100 percent. For the first time in 14 years, I feel like I was treated unfairly and discriminated against.”

The USGA Cart Policy stipulates that the organization must provide reasonable accommodations for disabled spectators at championship events. Scooters are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, and a volunteer can escort spectators to certain parts of the golf course – not a hole-by-hole shuttle service – to watch the action. According to the USGA, Martin was offered the latter accommodation but declined.

In a statement, the USGA called the incident an “unfortunate situation” and a “misunderstanding.”