The PGA recently lost a landmark case and, more importantly, a round in the public
courtroom, after a judge in Oregon ruled that golfer Casey Martin can and will be
allowed to use a golf cart in competition.
There has been some debate on just what
exactly the PGA was thinking when they decided not to settle out of court and
save themselves from some of the public embarrassment that was sure to come. By
fighiting Martin in court, they made themsleves look like they don't like "crippled
people". (I use that word in reference to the mindset of the PGA).
Their argument; It would ruin the integrity of the game. Most of you have heard
this all before, but some things just don't make sense. For instance, why do they
let the golfers on the Senior tour use carts only if they want to? There seems to be
no continuity in not forcing all participants to follow the same rule.
Also, Martin and
several other golfers, one of whom
was a diabetic (this is important to me since I am diabetic, also) were allowed to use carts in qualifying school! These
instances of allowing carts to be used sometimes and not others only
deflated the PGA's argument, and somebody should have seen that.
Of course, golf has a long storied tradition of racism and bigotry, and, apparently,
some things die pretty damn hard. Now everyone hold on, I'm not saying all golfers
are bigots. I am saying that the sports history does tend to taint their current
My beloved home town of Birmingham had a bit of a P/R boo-boo in 1990
when the PGA Championships were held at Shoal Creek Country Club. The
executive director said there would never be a black person admitted to
his club. I will reitterate, this was in 19 freakin' 90. This man is no longer employed
by Shoal Creek but Birmingham may as well have dragged out the dogs and the
Only in golf would a black athlete cause any kind of uproar. Tiger Woods is a great
player, but if he were a white guy from Connecticut, would he really generate
the kind of excitement he has created? Of course, hockey has had some racial
problems recently with a couple of black players, but hockey is not golf. Hockey
players don't wear plaid pants and saddle shoes.
With golf's personality of
sophist-i-o-cation and refinement, the MEN in charge of the grand old game should
have accomodated Martin if only as an effort to broaden the sport's appeal.
However, I'm not so sure the PGA would have the LPGA if they wouldn't be forced
to in our current political era. Of course, we all know what GOLF stands for;
Gentlment Only, Ladies Forbidden.