- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 30, 2001

Casey Martin is not a bad guy, just a guy with a handicap who has been granted a free pass by the Supreme Court.
He can ride in a golf cart between shots. He can have a full-body massage between shots as well.
He can have a chauffeur and butler while competing in PGA Tour events. He can bring along a gardener, too, to fix each bad lie. He can sip a cocktail and play the stereo between shots if he likes.
His biggest worry is not the next shot. His biggest worry is the air pressure in his tires. As long as he keeps up with his golf cart's maintenance schedule, he should be in good shape.
When Martin shows up to play golf, he has to pack a bag of irons and a spare quart of oil.
Most golfers report to the clubhouse. Martin reports to the nearest Jiffy Lube. Members of his pit crew promise to be efficient. They can grease up his golf cart between shots and change his seat cushion, if necessary.
If his golf cart goes down, Martin undoubtedly will be allowed to ride in a helicopter. If a helicopter is not available, he'll ride the subway.
Martin, if he's smart, will be certain to equip his golf cart with all the extras: power steering and brakes, tinted windows, a mini-refrigerator, a television and sleeping quarters in the back.
Martin has a bum right leg, which prompted the fuss.
Allen Iverson has a bum everything. It probably would not be a bad thing if Iverson were permitted to play from a wheelchair in Game 5 tonight.
Every time Iverson turns around, he is taking a blow to the body. He's spitting up blood and grabbing his tail bone.
If Iverson were before the seven justices who voted in favor of Martin, he would be allowed to play in an armor suit, and his path to the basket would be unimpeded.
This might not be fair to the rest of the players, but fair has become a squishy concept in the new millennium. It's not fair that Martin has a circulatory disorder, or that Hollywood's nitwits have tried to clean up the 1941 Japanese. It's not fair that life is messy, sometimes not easily legislated, and if the rules dictate that you walk the course, then you walk the darn course.
Which tricky sports subject is next for the Supreme Court, the American League's designated-hitter rule?
There's no crying in baseball, and there's no riding in golf.
The blind don't play golf too well, either. Their shot placement is not the best, barring a golf-minded Seeing Eye dog.
The Supreme Court is on a slippery slope.
What's the legal difference between a bad leg and two bad knees? In the case of Mark Schlereth, he was playing on what amounted to no knees. He might not have felt compelled to retire if the Supreme Court had intervened in his behalf.
An athlete is inevitably betrayed by his body, some sooner than others, and it is to Martin's credit that he has survived the weeding-out process this long. All athletes fight the process, some better than others, but the fight is usually made without lawyers and concessions.
You know how it is with lawyers. If it doesn't fit, you must acquit. To put it another lawyerly way, if Monica shows up with her kneepads, it is not sex. It is a public service.
So now you no longer are required to walk everything out in golf.
At least you still are required to run everything out in baseball, and if you can't run everything out because of age, a hangover or ill-temperedness, that is a fundamental problem.
Baseball made no special allowances for one-armed pitcher Jim Abbott, which was the beauty of his struggle. He competed under the rules of the able-bodied, and competed well, and that was that.
If Martin is exempt from walking, the PGA Tour might as well provide mass transportation to all its players. Of course, Tiger Woods might demand to have a limousine, given his contentious relationship with Tim Finchem.
Martin, meanwhile, is in a position to tailgate with the gallery on the first tee. He can provide the grill and condiments as long as the gallery provides the hamburgers and franks.
Fore.


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