PGA Tour, Inc., sponsors professional golf tournaments. A player may enter in several ways, but the most common
method is to successfully compete in a three-stage qualifying tournament known as the "Q-School." Anyone may enter the Q-School by submitting two letters of recommendation and paying $3,000 to cover greens fees and the cost of a golf cart, which is permitted during the first two stages, but is prohibited during the third stage. The rules governing the events include the "Rules of Golf," which apply at all levels of amateur and professional golf and do not prohibit the use of golf carts, and the "hard card," which applies specifically to the PGA tour and requires the players to walk the course during most of a tournament. Casey Martin is a talented golfer with a degenerative circulatory disorder that prevents him from walking golf courses. Martin entered the Q-School and asked for permission to use a cart during the third stage. PGA refused. Martin filed a suit in a federal district court against PGA, alleging a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The court ordered PGA to permit Martin to use a cart. PGA appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which affirmed the order of the lower court. PGA appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which affirmed the lower court's decision, ruling that a golf cart is a reasonable accommodation for a disabled athlete. PGA argued that making an exception to its "walking" rule would "fundamentally alter the sport of golf." The Supreme Court disagreed, stating that the "[u]se of a cart is not inconsistent with the fundamental character of the game of golf," PGA's tours, or the third stage of the Q-School. Golf is defined by "shot-making," not by walking. The Court explained that the ADA is applied case by case. In other words, "[t]he needs of a disabled person [is] evaluated on an individual basis." Thus, in this case, "[e]ven if petitioner's factual predicate is accepted, its legal position is fatally flawed because its refusal to consider Martin's personal circumstances in deciding whether to accommodate his disability runs counter to the ADA's requirement that an individualized inquiry be conducted."
Do you agree or disagree with the Supreme Court's ruling in this case. If you were on the court, how would you have ruled? Has the game of golf been altered or equalized? Should ADA apply in this matter?
I agree with the court ruling. If I was on the court I would have ruled the exact same way. There are so many aspects... View the full answer