Martin is a professional golfer in his twenties who is stricken by Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber Syndrome. This disability makes it medically impossible for him to play golf without the use of a golf cart. Martin sued the PGA Tour in 1997 after his request to use a golf cart in a tour event was denied. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the Ninth Circuit's ruling allowing Martin to use a golf cart for PGA events. In another case, after initially allowing the golfer, Olinger, to compete in the qualifying rounds, the District Court, and subsequently the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, denied Olinger the use of a golf cart in events governed by the USGA. The Supreme Court vacated the Seventh Circuit's ruling, based on Martin. This note will indicate how the enlightened District Court for the Northern District of Indiana correctly decided, and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals subsequently affirmed, the Olinger matter. It will also highlight some of the many flaws in the Supreme Court's opinion in Martin. Martin and Olinger, as professional golfers, do not meet the statutory definition of "disabled." Athletics, by their nature, should not be governed by the ADA.
Note, Lessons from Martin: The ADA and Athletics Don't Mix, 16 J.L. & Health 341 (2001-2002)