Even if the PGA employs the golfers, employers are only required to make reasonable modifications for employees under the ADA
Hm. I'm of mixed feeling on this- on the one hand, supporting both the notion of a private organization such as the PGA to set its own rules (including, as ugly as it was, a whites-only rule) and the idea that the PGA is large enough and public enough to be governed by the ADA, and that the principle behind the ADA is that people shouldn't be barred from their pursuit of happiness for characteristics or disabilities that don't affect their pursuit (such as not hiring a computer programmer simply because they are in a wheelchair). The question here is whether Casey's cart-riding is any different than for example the referenced corrective lens wearing golfer.
Partly, I find myself in the unusual position of somewhat agreeing with the likes of rcade and ljromanoff, that it gets awkward having the [thoroughly disreputable] SC in the position of deciding what is and is not a critical part of the game of golf.
Then again, the cart doesn't confer an unusual advantage, or corrects a disadvantage that puts him (pardon the horrible pun) on par with other golfers- unlike special oversized drivers or custom-made golfballs, that confer unfair advantage or alter the nature of the game. Using a cart instead of walking doesn't assist his putting or driving or chipping game, or strategy- it just gets him down the course where others would use their legs. The point that any pro golfer worth his salt should be able to handle an 18-hole walk with minimal exertion is true.
An excellent question now is whether any golfer should have to walk, or should be allowed to use the cart. The SC suggested that this ruling was so narrow as to potentially apply only to Casey Martin, but they also ruled that walking wasn't an integral part of the game, so why shouldn't everyone ride a cart? And doesn't Jack Nicklaus use a cart, anyway, as someone noted?
Still, I think a better compromise could have been reached- namely, disallow the use of the cart, but allow the use of a wheelchair. This might have alleviated some of the difficulties Martin encountered while still forcing him to exert physical effort similar to the players who walk the whole course.
Kind of a complex question, really...posted by hincandenza at 5:33 PM on May 29, 2001
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