Golf: Martin wins right to use buggy

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The Independent Online
CASEY MARTIN, the 25-year-old American golfer who suffers from a degenerative circulatory condition in his lower right leg which prevents him from being able to walk 18 holes, has won the right to use a buggy in competition, writes Andy Farrell. However, the Open may still be closed to him.

The landmark ruling, handed down by the US Magistrate Tom Coffin in Martin's home town of Eugene, Oregon, means he can use a cart in US PGA and Nike Tour events. But the ruling only applies to Martin, and to the PGA Tour, which Martin took to court under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Given the disparate governing bodies in the game, it will still be a while before Martin can ride a buggy in a major championship. Should he try to qualify for the US Open or the Open Championship, he will have to walk.

Although the US Golf Association is reviewing its conditions in light of the judgment, David Fay, its executive director, had stated that they will not change the entry conditions for the US Open, which require competitors to walk.

However, the Royal and Ancient secretary, Michael Bonallack, said there would be no review for the regulations governing the Open Championship, which state that "players shall walk at all times during a stipulated round unless permitted to ride by the Championship Committee''.