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Casey Martin returns to golf after ruling

While everyone else spent the last two weeks arguing about him and his cart, Casey Martin finally relaxed -- and then he got mad.

Martin hung out with friends, played a lot of golf and tried to fix his swing in the days after the Supreme Court ruled he could use a cart in PGA Tour competition because of his withered right leg.

His 3½-year legal fight against the tour over, Martin has tried to move on with his life. He wishes others could do the same, but he's puzzled by much of the criticism of the ruling.

''I try to just let it go,'' Martin said today after practicing for his first tournament since the ruling. ''There has been criticism of my situation and this supposed advantage I have. That's made me mad. I'm frustrated to hear it. People don't understand what I've been through.

''I understood early there were two sides,'' he added. ''I understood the tour's side. I didn't necessarily agree with it. But I understood it. On the whole, I've been treated great.

''I'm not holding a lot of bitterness.''

With his father, King, walking the course while he drove the cart, the 29-year-old Martin got in nearly 17 holes to prepare for the Buy.com Greater Cleveland Open, which begins Thursday. Over the weekend, he shot a course-record 63 at the Eugene Country Club back home in Oregon.

Martin, who suffers from a rare circulation disorder, said he has been overwhelmed by the reaction - good and bad - since the Supreme Court's 7-2 decision.

He's been somewhat bothered by the lack of support from many of his colleagues. He said he's heard from some PGA touring pros, but not from Tiger Woods, his former roommate and teammate at Stanford.

After the decision was announced, Woods expressed his happiness for Martin, but also said he supported the tour's position that it should be able to make its own rules.

Martin said he's ''maybe a little'' surprised Woods hasn't called.

''But in the long run, I didn't need anyone to pull strings to get me out here,'' Martin said. ''It's been totally done through the courts and I'm grateful I didn't ask for any help.

''I wasn't out there begging guys for help, I feel good about that.''

Five minutes before leaving Eugene on Sunday, Martin said he got a letter from Jack Nicklaus. Like Woods, Nicklaus was down the middle on Martin's case - supporting him as a friend but wavering on the issue of allowing the cart.

''He congratulated me on winning and hoped I understood the stance he took,'' Martin said. ''It was nice. I think it was pretty heartfelt and I appreciate it.''

Martin said he doesn't want to be seen as a civil rights martyr, as some people have portrayed him, and that the experience has given him a better appreciation for those who have fought the judicial system.

''It's been eye-opening and a little bit discouraging,'' he said.

He's particularly hurt by the dissenting opinions of Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas on his case. Martin said Scalia's findings, which included him referring to the other justices' decisions as ''Alice in Wonderland'', were demeaning.

''I haven't figured out all the words to articulate it,'' Martin said, ''but it's something that has definitely bothered me.''

Martin said he's not holding a grudge against the PGA Tour for fighting him.

''I don't go to bed going, 'What a bunch of jerks, I hate this place.' I love it out here. They put out a great product and I want to be a part of it.

''It's great that this is behind me. It's the end of one chapter. I'm anxious to get back at it, and hopefully I can get my game figured out.''


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