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Casey Martin
Martin makes first cart ride at Bob Hope
Casey Martin on verge of PGA Tour
Martin fails in qualifying bid
Disabled golfer fails in quest for US Open entry
Judge denies golfer's request to use cart
USGA calls golf carts unfair
Court ruling may affect Casey Martin
Appeals Court hears arguments on Casey Martin's use of a cart
A year later, Martin just trying to blend in
Martin's immediate goal: PGA Tour
Martin hopes for smoother 1999

Appeals Court hears arguments on Casey Martin's use of a cart

The PGA Tour took its fight against Casey Martin's golf cart to a federal appeals court today, arguing that last year's decision allowing the disabled golfer to ride fundamentally alters the game.

"In an elite athletic competition, certain rules must apply equally to everyone," PGA Tour attorney Andrew Hurwitz told a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"The walking rule is a substantial rule, expressly designed to inject stress and fatigue, and impact the outcome of the game," Hurwitz said.

He added that walking in golfing "determines how players must go from shot to shot, just as the dribbling rule determines how basketball players must go down the court."

Martin, who has a rare circulatory disorder in his right leg that makes it painful for him to walk long distances, won the right to ride a cart on the pro tour under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which bars discrimination against the disabled in the workplace, public accommodations and services.

Martin's attorney contended that the PGA, whether it likes it or not, is subject to the ADA and he scoffed at the suggestion that walking is a necessary part of playing golf.

"Stress is what causes golfers to wear down, not walking up an,nd down hills," said attorney Roy Reardon. "They're not doing that at any speed. Stress is the mental stress, the same kind of mental stress Casey Martin suffers."

Martin limped into court early and sat quietly during the hearing, flanked by his brother and his father.

The judges asked only a few questions during the hearing and a ruling was not expected for months.

The PGA's appeal is based on the argument that it threatens the essence of the sport by giving an unfair advantage to one golfer, while his competitors must trudge from tee to tee.

If Martin has had an advantage, it hasn't been reflected on the golf course.

Since the ruling, Martin's game has waned. After a top-10 finish four weeks ago, he has missed the cut in his last three tournaments.

In January, Martin missed the cut at the Nike Lakeland Classic, an event he won in 1998, and finished 14th in his next tournament. After missing yet another cut, he took a month off and returned in March.

His latest success was a seventh-place tie good for $11,250 at the Nike Louisiana Open, but things have been rough going since. He has missed three cuts, the latest disappointment coming this week at the Nike Upstate Classic in Greenville, S.C.

Still, Martin thinks his play is all right

"It just takes some patience," he said this week. ``When I've played relaxed, I've played really well. Maybe I'm pressing a little bit."

TRW