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March 8, 2000

Casey Martin


NELSON LUIS: We will go ahead and get started here. Casey, thank you for joining us.

CASEY MARTIN: Thank you.

NELSON LUIS: Appreciate you coming here and giving us some time this morning. Open it a little bit to you joining the Tour here this year after your good performance last year on BUY.COM.

CASEY MARTIN: Is this press conference about my play or --(laughs).

NELSON LUIS: We just started it that way and let it go whichever.

CASEY MARTIN: My play has been, I guess, A little bit slow and coming. I haven't played great yet, but I had a good week last week in Tucson. Unfortunately, I didn't finish the week very well actually two weeks ago in Tucson. I was right in there and kind of bogeyed the last few holes to lose some ground. I feel good about my game. Starting to get comfortable out here and hopefully I will just continue to play better.

NELSON LUIS: Questions.

Q. Just talk about your reaction to Tuesday's ruling and what it means.

CASEY MARTIN: Well, I am thrilled about it. It has been a real blessing and long time waiting. I can't say that it is something I really stressed a lot about, but at the same time it has been in the back of my mind for a couple years now, wondering kind of about my future, as you might expect, and so it feels great to kind of have that behind me. Obviously there might be another round to go, but that is in the future, if it does happen. So right now it feels good. I guess I feel kind of vindicated about when you do something like this, you are not sure if you are doing the right thing; you are not sure you are going to be received and all that. After a couple of years and seeing how the courts have backed my stance, I feel great about it. Just looking forward to now just playing golf hopefully letting this gradually die down.

Q. Why do you think there might be another round to go?

CASEY MARTIN: They have told me all along that they were going to take this as far as they could, so Supreme Court will be next if that was their decision.

Q. The fact that did you see there was this other ruling about this other golfer with the USGA, it seemed contradictory. One, does that lead you to believe that it might get to the Supreme Court because there is different opinions?

CASEY MARTIN: I don't know. That is something that probably the lawyers know more about. Certainly when you have two courts saying different things, obviously two totally different cases, his is not against PGA TOUR; mine is, and he has got a totally different situation, but at the same time, they are similar in many respects. Yeah, that might lead them to say, listen, if we can win here, maybe we can take it to the next level. I don't know. That is something you are going to have to ask them about. But obviously it is going to be tough. I won the injunction. I won the first round in court, then a unanimous decision at the appellate level, so you know, you think they would let it go, but you never know.

Q. Have you talked to other Tour players since the ruling?

CASEY MARTIN: Not really. I have seen a lot of guys and been congratulated about it. But I haven't really talked about them.

Q. Did this decision maybe feel even better because first one people were saying, oh, he was in his hometown; he had a judge that was --


Q. -- Didn't really know golf, that this one being a 3-nothing and more impartial --


Q. -- Forum?

CASEY MARTIN: Yeah, that was a bunch junk about being from Eugene and the guy didn't know golf. That was offensive to him and me and every one in Eugene, that that would have happened. At the same time, yeah, because you hear it, we got homework -- in fact, I have heard the Tour say, people say about the Tour has got homework. That makes you mad. And so to get -- now they will say, well, it is a liberal Ninth Circuit. You can't win. So all I know is I won the appeal and they are going to have to live with it.

Q. You don't think there is much chance they will let it go?

CASEY MARTIN: Well, I hope so. I'd hope so. But from what I have been told through the last couple of years interaction with them, I would say no.

Q. I spoke with --

CASEY MARTIN: Hope I am wrong.

Q. I spoke with an assistant dean for Florida School of Law who specializes in this type of law yesterday. I wondered if he has told you anything like this or whether your lawyers have told you anything, he said that Supreme Court only hears three percent of the cases that are filed and that there has to be a constitutional issue or difference of what circuit are saying. Have your lawyers told you anything like that? Have they told you that it is not going to get there?

CASEY MARTIN: Yeah, my lawyers said, listen, if it goes to the Supreme Court, they said it is a small percentage of cases that do get heard, and they only hear the really big ones and only hear the ones that maybe have a split decision or there is controversy or something like that. So being that this is one -- honestly, driving a cart in golf is -- surely there is more important things that they would hear, and so in light of that, you might think that, yeah, they wouldn't hear it. That is what my lawyers let me know that if we lose this, it could be bad news because the likelihood of the Supreme Court hearing your case is very slim so in light of that, yeah, it looks good.

Q. From the Tour's position they say they want to administer the way they see fit. From your position, obviously, you think you should be accommodated under the ADA. How does it square with, let's say, other players who get injuries along the way who have problems walking later in their -- what do you think should be done? Should they be able to ride carts or how do you differentiate between different things--

CASEY MARTIN: I think that has been a big crux of the issue. I think that has been why they have been hesitant to grant an exception because there are other situations out there with guys that are hurting that aren't quote, unquote, disabled, like I am. It does create a problem. I acknowledge that because I am protected under the law, you know, what about a guy with a really bad back and that -- so I recognize it as a problem. As far as I am concerned, I don't think you gain any advantage riding. I really don't. I believe that. I have no problem if everyone rode, no one road. I just don't think that it plays in your game as far as an advantage especially out here with the distractions of riding the court. In light of that, I don't have problem with anyone riding. I am not saying I want everyone to ride. That was not my goal. That is not my agenda here at all, but I would have no problem with that.

Q. How are you physically compared to where you were a year ago or two years ago, let's say?

CASEY MARTIN: I am not better. I don't think I am a lot worse, but I have struggled out here this year. I have had a tough go a few tournaments. But I am used to that kind of waking up some days it feels good; some days it doesn't. Fortunately it hasn't felt great this year, but it is a long year hopefully--

Q. Would it be fair to say it has deteriorated the last year?

CASEY MARTIN: I got some X-rays a couple of months ago and it hasn't deteriorated anymore than it was couple of years ago and partly -- probably because I am riding. There has been a steady decline years ago when I was walking, you can kind of see it in the X-rays. It kind of leveled off which is good. But the pain and discomfort I feel is still real. But yeah, it hasn't got a lot worse from -- I guess from a medical standpoint.

Q. Level off when you say in terms of circulation, the bone structure?

CASEY MARTIN: When you look at my X-rays over the years, you can see years ago it was white - if you look at the X-ray, kind of white and vibrant. It was healthy over the years. With the kind walking and kind of problem I have had, my circulation, the bone has just been getting weak; you can see the steady decline from white to gray. That is what is -- my doctors have been following that through the years - you need to be careful about this. That is what led me to here today, really, is that just the deterioration of the bone in my tibia. So that kind of flatened off the last couple of years. It hasn't gotten a lot worse than it was two years ago partly probably because I am not walking as much.

Q. Are you supposed to get a certain amount of exercise just to keep the leg somewhat vibrant or does it reach a point where --

CASEY MARTIN: I don't think so. Exercise, there is really no exercise that I do for my leg that I know is beneficial. Every exercise that requires moving and running and jumping is hurting, so -- I have tried some swimming, stuff like that, to get some exercise and that is okay, but even that can cause other problems. So there is not a lot I do.

Q. Where were you when you got the news and who informed you?

CASEY MARTIN: I flew all day yesterday flying from Eugene to Orlando giving a talk in Orlando last night or Monday night. So I was flying and I had got off -- I wasn't expecting it in any way, and I just got a cell phone -- Tour gave cell phones a couple months ago, so I had -- no one knows my cell number, maybe like two people that know it. I got off the plane and checked it actually about an hour after I got off the plane, like 8, 9 messages, I thought something was wrong really, who is calling me. And it was my family saying, hey, you won, and I was about four hours late from everyone else from hearing it. That is how I heard.

Q. Orlando airport?

CASEY MARTIN: No, driven about an hour from there. I heard about it 4:30 Eastern time which is pretty late. It is good news, kind of been scrambling to kind of get this together and prepare my game too.

Q. By yourself?

CASEY MARTIN: No, I was with another guy.

Q. Getting back to the golf just how is it being back in South Florida, place that you won on the other Tour, do you get good vibes being here?

CASEY MARTIN: Is Orlando South Florida close enough?

Q. Yes.

CASEY MARTIN: Yeah, I have played well in Florida actually. I like coming here, especially this time of year, the greens are fantastic, the courses are fantastic and I don't think I like to come here maybe August so much, but right now, this is -- it is fantastic golf, golf courses, and the condition and everything, temperature, so I have had some success here. I played on the mini-tours in Orlando for quite a bit, and enjoyed it. I did well on the Nike Tour here.

Q. Do you think the USGA will revisit its policy now?

CASEY MARTIN: That is a good question. I don't know. I really don't know. I hope they won't challenge it. By the same time, I bet they will. That is something remains to be seen.

Q. I wonder do you think -- difference there would be the only place for a golfer to make a living in this level is PGA TOUR, but can't necessarily make a living playing all the USGA events, only one where you get paid....

CASEY MARTIN: Maybe that is -- yeah. That might be a reason why they have challenged it. I don't know. It is a bit of an ironic situation, I win, and then that happens right after me, kind of weird.

Q. When you jumped over the creek like you did in Austin a couple of years ago - are these riskier -- do they look riskier to us than they are for your health?

CASEY MARTIN: Well, the deal on the creek and the hole, that wasn't too risky. That is just a golf swing. But in the water deal, jumping the creek, that was -- I mean, I am athletic enough to know kind of what I can do and what I can't. Yeah, that was probably not a super wise decision. Look, I kind of -- I had kind of thought about it. I knew where I could land, so it is not something I do carelessly. Same time, this is something I used to be extremely active years back and I am used to doing things very actively. Every once in a while get the better of me and I will pay the price sometimes, no doubt. But I am learning that --. The other day I was playing in L.A. And had a bad experience at the L.A. Open. I stepped in like a chunk hole, first hole kind of around a sprinkler. It was absolutely the worse day of my life physically. It was inadvertent, kind of stepped down about an extra two inches than I was expecting. It jarred my leg, and that came totally unexpected. I am realizing that my leg is more and more fragile and just painful with that stuff. I don't think you will see me jumping too many creeks and hopefully I am hitting it better so I won't be there.

Q. When you have a bad day, a lot of pain, how do you deal with it?

CASEY MARTIN: Well, you just kind of gut it out. I do take a lot of Advil which tends to help quite a bit. But even that doesn't always get it. It can be painful. There is not a lot you can say; nothing I can really do. I am not going to go pout most of the time, so you just suck it up and get through it.

Q. Throughout this whole process have you spoken with Tim Finchem at all? How has it been personally, on a human level?

CASEY MARTIN: I find him a nice guy. We don't talk a lot. Obviously, I don't think -- you know, he is in a pretty high profiled position; not like a lot of guys are chatting with him; especially rookies. I have had more contact with him than most guys. We did talk. It is semi ironic, when I made the Tour we had an orientation at Doral and I went in for a meeting with him and he kind of told me about what was going on and they were shocked that it had taken this long for the appeal to come down and how he was just saying that it looks like they are going to win and this is what they are prepared to do; this is what they are not prepared to do. I remember that conversation just going, man, I wonder if they know something I don't know, and I said that was the first time I really hadn't been concerned about it -- that was the first time I started to maybe be concerned so it is a big relief now; looking back on that I can kind of smile about it.

Q. That was last November?

CASEY MARTIN: At the qualifying -- right after qualifying tournament.

Q. Next time you see him what would you say?

CASEY MARTIN: Yeah, I mean, nothing about that. I am not trying to rub anybody's nose in this. Not trying to flaunt that I won and you lost. It is not what it is about. At the same time it feels good. I admit I called my folks and I am like, listen, this is what he said; what do you think? They were shocked. There has been a few -- granted, there is a few situations where I am inside smiling about how things have worked out; I am thanking the Lord that he gave me a victory - this kind of vindicates me big time, feels great, but it is not something that I am going to be cocky about.

Q. Do you think more players have kind of come over to your way or that see your point of view now?

CASEY MARTIN: I hope. But I tend to think so. When I meet people and talk with them I tend to think the sentiment is on my side. Then there will inevitably be the situation where I am talking to a reporter, they will say, I talked to so and so and this is what they are saying. I am like, yeah, there is kind of another story behind the back that I am not getting. It is hard for me to really figure out where everyone stands. But I haven't received any to my face or there hasn't been any negative situations.

Q. As a competitor how does it affect you knowing that the guy you are playing with might resent you being there in a cart?

CASEY MARTIN: I don't think about it. I really don't. When the situations do arise, if I know there is someone that really does, I think it will be motivation for me to play well. But really I can't say that I am thinking about it when I am playing.

Q. You said this earlier, riding the cart, has that extended your golf career? Was it going to be a finite number now?

CASEY MARTIN: Yeah, I don't know how much longer -- I don't know the future at all, that way, but I -- looking back, I know that if I didn't have it I wouldn't be playing right now, so, yeah.

Q. Who were you speaking to in Orlando? You said you were giving a talk.

CASEY MARTIN: College Golf Fellowship, a Christian organization. They go around the college tournaments put on dinners and bring in a lot of professionals to kind of share their testimony. I was asked to do that. I did that Monday night.

Q. Are you planning to qualify for the U.S. Open?

CASEY MARTIN: At this point, yeah, I am.

Q. Have you or your lawyers talked to the USGA about what they plan to do?

CASEY MARTIN: No, last two years they have allowed me to ride, so unless that were to change, I am assuming they are going to stay with that.

Q. Why would they allow you to ride and fight somebody else in court?

CASEY MARTIN: That is a great question. That is a great question. I am sure just because I won my suit against the PGA and I guess they are just going -- they are not going to fight that, but that is a great question.

Q. Do you wonder how much time you have left out here?

CASEY MARTIN: Sure. I think about those things I wonder but at the same time I have come to know that I would have never imagined that I would be here right now. Years ago I could have never imagined I would be playing golf and doing it at this level; no one would have thought I would be able to. It's easy to say I have got two, three years, but you never know.

Q. The Tour Policy Board meets next week in Orlando. Do you want them to do anything. What would you like for them to do?

CASEY MARTIN: Yeah, I think it is obvious what I'd like them to do is recognize what the courts have said and recognize what the court of public opinion has said, to a large extent, and let this go, yeah.

Q. Does it have to be the question of who gets to ride a cart here? Does it have to be this complicated if somebody has got a disability that is medically recognized under the American Disabilities Act, shouldn't that be it?

CASEY MARTIN: I think so. I think that is why -- one frustration is they had a great case with me. I am legally protected, I guess, under the ADA. I don't have -- it is not just a back problem that I could have gotten treatment; not that I am overweight -- I had a perfect idea or perfect situation that needed accommodation and it was -- to me, it was a no-brainer. That is why this is a little shocking two years later we are still talking about it. The courts make it very clear that people with disabilities deserve accommodation in every aspect of life, and if you read the judgment - I haven't read it yet - but they talk a little bit about it, so seemed to be a pretty natural thing. I can play golf. I am just struggling to get from point A to point B. Natural accommodation would be to grant me a cart like that. Obviously there a lot of variables involved, like I say, I don't want to be bitter, or angry. I am just very grateful it worked out the way it did. Hopefully it will continue to that be way.

Q. Has it taken energy from you this whole distraction or fueled you almost to work harder?

CASEY MARTIN: The thing that fueled me to work harder, I realized the kind of attention I am under now and I don't want to, you know, work this hard to get here, then play bad and have it just be blown off as, well, why did he pursue that; he didn't have a game, you know, I want to do well and I feel I have been given the talent to play well and then regardless of the cart situation, I felt like, all along, I could play out here. But with all the attention and kind of pressure that comes with it, it is all the more, all right, let's get it done. Not that my life is based on what people think or the pressure of the media and all, but I admit it is there.

Q. Do you find it ironic they were all so worried about the precedent, this opening the floodgates, yet two years later, nobody else has even applied--

CASEY MARTIN: There is not that many guys that it makes sense for. There is very few people out here. I think there is one - me, that is physically disabled. So, yeah, it is not like a lot of guys are dying to use carts. I am sure in certain situations there are a lot of guys that would like to, but it is just not realistic to think the guys are going to be wanting to use carts especially under the circumstances. So yeah, I never thought it would be a wild -- how many guys are at this level that have a disability. It is not many, so....

Q. Do you detect any swing in attitude with players out there once you qualified for the PGA TOUR and maybe some guys say, wait a second, there is a standard here; there is a number he had to shoot over a course of tournaments to get here, he did it, you know, do you think that raised you in their eyes a little bit?

CASEY MARTIN: Maybe. I haven't talked about it to people, so I don't know that. But I'd say it is very possible.

Q. Do you think more guys got on your side when you proved that you belonged by qualifying?

CASEY MARTIN: Again, I don't know. That is something maybe you could ask them about because I can't speak for them and I don't talk to them about it. But it would make sense that maybe that is the case.

Q. How does the ground rules work? Are you allowed to not use a cart some weeks if you don't want to or do you have to use it in every event you play?

CASEY MARTIN: Well, I guess I don't have to use it. I want to use it, so I am going to, I don't think I have to.

Q. But you ride from tee-to-green and then walk around the green?

CASEY MARTIN: Yeah, I drive -- go into the ropes, kind of go up the fairway, I will either kind of use common sense. A lot of time there will be a guy going around with me and I will park it somewhere near the green and then he takes it around the back to the next tee box or wherever is appropriate. Actually since I have been on the PGA TOUR you think it would have been a lot harder with all the people but it's actually worked out much more smoothly, because of that because they have people out there going with me and taking the cart around the greens. It has been incredibly -- it has been smooth for me to deal with. I park it and obviously there is still a lot of distractions with people and all, but not as bad as you would might think.

Q. Galleries, for the most part, have they been supportive?

CASEY MARTIN: Very supportive.

Q. I read that one ugly comment out at Phoenix about somebody --

CASEY MARTIN: I read that too. I never heard that. I haven't heard one thing negative from the gallery.

Q. How is the whole ordeal, the legal process, pressure from the media, how has that affected you? Personally changed you over the last two years?

CASEY MARTIN: Hopefully it's changed me for the better. I realize this process being under the spotlight that I have a chance to do good with it and to be a good role model, I want to do that. I also realize that there is a lot of pressure, that if I miss -- upset going to be seen by a lot of people; I guess there is that added pressure in me and my faith - Christ plays a big role in that. I don't want to make a mess of the stand I am taking. That is on my mind. It's motivated me to play well because I do want to play well. It sounds corny, when the cameras are on, you want to do well, it is just natural.

Q. Do you ever just ask the deeper question too, why me? Is there a bigger lesson? What are we all learning?

CASEY MARTIN: As far as my leg or the cart?

Q. The whole thing.

CASEY MARTIN: Yeah, there is different things that, gosh, I cannot believe I am in this situation, but like I say, my faith plays a big role in that. I have realized God has got a plan for my life; he is going to use me in ways that he has demonstrated; his faith in knee in many ways -- Bible says, God is going to take care of us, and we don't know how it is going to happen, there is times when he -- I have doubted that - Lord, I cannot walk, can't play, I think what does he want from me; how is this going to work. Lo and behold, two years later, here I am, like you say, you have heard God works in mysterious ways. That is true in many respects. He has provided for me in a way that I could have never imagined. So my -- I am grateful for that and that is why I am here, and so hopefully that has changed me in that way just knowing -- just seeing God be faithful and act on my behalf.

Q. What is your schedule now and are you having a tough time getting into tournaments at all?

CASEY MARTIN: No. I have been blessed. I have got a ton of exemptions and I didn't take exemptions two years ago when I just first got this because I hadn't made it out here yet; didn't want to take advantage of the situation. Now that I have made it, I felt free to take exemptions so I have got them. Took an exemption next week into Bay Hill. My ideal plan would be not to take exemptions. I'd rather get in on my number, just there is a better feeling not maybe as much pressure of playing well to justify your exemption, but I played a great schedule so far and I have done well enough, moved up a little bit in the reshuffle that I should get in the majority of events for the next couple of months, and hopefully continue to do well and get into some of the bigger ones too.

Q. Where after Bay Hill?

CASEY MARTIN: Bay Hill, THE PLAYERS Championship I am not in obviously. I think I'd have to win here and next week and go back in time and win a few more times to get in that tournament. I will take that week off, playing Atlanta, and The Masters is out next week so another week off, then after that I don't know.

Q. How many exemptions are you limited to?

CASEY MARTIN: Unlimited being that I am a member out here.

Q. Do you keep up with developments on the ADA and --

CASEY MARTIN: I follow it. I follow -- there -- it was in the news quite a bit a couple of years ago. There were a lot of cases coming out, yeah, I follow it.

Q. Now there is something about people with attention deficit disorder want to use it to get more time in law school boards and stuff like that, do you think that is kind of a stretch or how --

CASEY MARTIN: I am not the person to ask on those situations because I don't know enough about each particular instance. I am sure you can take advantage of everything. I am sure that you can take advantage of this law too. I am not saying they are, but I am saying, you know, that the natural way we tend to try to take advantage of things. But I am not the attorney to comment on those situations but I do follow it. More like implications might happen to me.

Q. Correct me if I am wrong, hasn't the Augusta National, PGA TOUR of America said that whatever you are allowed to do on the PGA TOUR that if you qualify for the tournaments, you can ride a cart?

CASEY MARTIN: That was what the --

Q. Augusta National and PGA TOUR of America?

CASEY MARTIN: That is what I have heard.

Q. If you qualified for those tournaments?


Q. Have you inquired at all about with the European PGA TOUR about the British Open should you qualify for that?

CASEY MARTIN: I have not. Obviously they are not bound to the laws we have here, so I don't know what they would do. They might just because of the situation allow me to, but at the same time, I don't have any intention right now to go over there. Physically it is hard for me to travel especially from Oregon to Scotland or England or wherever it might be, and I am not in it either, so that is kind of the situation. I can see that if my career were to take off I would be exempt into all the majors. I would take some time and pursue it. For right now, being a rookie, it is not a priority at all. It is not something I am planning on doing.

Q. You said you were really active when you were younger. What other sports?

CASEY MARTIN: Incredible athlete. I love basketball and football and when I used to play football, I used to be the designated quarterback for both teams because I couldn't run. I played basketball two years 7dth, 8th grade, couldn't play the full game. I was designated shooter; wouldn't go inside, but I'd go out there.

Q. Dunk?

CASEY MARTIN: Didn't dunk in 7th grade. I could touch the net, though, but I like to shoot. I love -- I love sports. I am an avid sports fan. For my two schools Oregon and Stanford, the ones I follow, I go to all the games, hopefully be travelling to the Final Four maybe Stanford or Oregon makes it. I love it. I have been good at sports even though I have been limited to what I can do, but I imagine without this -- my leg, I would have pursued basketball probably the most. That is probably my favorite sport. I have been forced into golf which I am not complaining about.

Q. How tight is that Stanford golf team have you talked with Notah?

CASEY MARTIN: I haven't talked with him yet. I have been busy, left a bunch messages for him. I think the world of Notah. Proud of the way he handled his situation at university, and Notah and I are close. I am close with Steve Burdick on that team and Jerry Chang -- I don't get to see Tiger much, but 'til this year. We had a great team. I look back. It was a fantastic team, and just the multi-culture aspect to it. It is funny, there might never be a team like that in a long time when you think of the kind of people that were on it, different situations - having an African American, native American, myself with a disability, and Jerry Chang was Japanese American. We were all going to Stanford. They were all pretty much from diverse backgrounds. I was the only kid from a country club on that team, and it is just -- it was very bizarre team and I look back on that very fondly.

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