Day 263- Casey Martin

This is one heckuva cool guy. A lifelong resident of Eugene Oregon, Casey Martin has always had a passion for golf.

But ask him what his “handicap” is, and he might crack a smile. A former PGA Tour golfer-turned-college-coach, Martin became both famous and infamous when he successfully sued the PGA Tour under the Americans with Disabilities Act nine years ago.

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Born with a birth defect of the leg, Martin took the PGA Tour to the highest court in the land over the right to use a golf cart to get from hole to hole.

Martin was born with a chronic condition called Klippel Trenaunay Weber Syndrome, which causes veins in his leg to rupture. Given how often his leg is in pain, there are a limited number of steps Martin should take. If he isn’t careful to keep off his leg, it could need amputation in the near future.

Having succeeded as a golfer at Stanford University, where he played alongside Tiger Woods, Martin knew the next step for him would be going pro.

The problem? Whereas in the NCAA he was allowed the use of a golf cart to prevent him from experiencing excrutiating pain while walking, the PGA Tour refused to allow him such an accommodation, because the bylaws of the Tour stated that golfers must walk the course.

Martin’s case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, and in 2001, he won the battle.

Although Martin has since retired from professional golf, he continues to make a huge impact on the lives of others. In 2006, he became head coach for the University of Oregon’s men’s golf team.

He’s also partner and co-founder of 10thGreen.com, a golf social networking community Web site. Besides exchanging stories and tips about golfing, 10th Green encourages corporate giving through its afflilation with Shriners Hospitals for Children.

So, that’s how Casey Martin continues to effect positive change in the lives of so many. And to think it all started nine years ago, when a young Martin stood up for himself, and for others. What a ballsy move– golf balls, that is!

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