Forget mechanics of swing: Martin needs a cart doctor Motorized vehicles fail on his first day at Open


SAN FRANCISCO -- Casey Martin's first official day at the 98th U.S. Open at the Olympic Club turned out to be anything but a smooth ride.

Martin -- the disabled professional golfer who won a lawsuit against the PGA Tour that allows him to use motorized transportation in competition -- needed three golf carts to complete an 18-hole practice round yesterday.

His first cart broke down in the first fairway, and a replacement cart did not have enough power and weight to make it up a hill next to the No. 2 tee box.

The U.S. Golf Association, the governing body that conducts the U.S. Open, has agreed to honor Martin's courtroom victory and provide him a cart this week. The cart it is letting him use, however, is a small, single-rider cart, similar to those provided for disabled spectators at USGA championships the past few years.

After having to walk the second and third holes, Martin received a standard-sized golf cart after teeing off on the fourth hole and rode his last 15 holes in it.

"The first one they gave me busted and the other just about flipped," said Martin, 25, a Nike Tour player who earned a spot in the U.S. Open in Cincinnati last week. "Can't they just get a big cart down here?"

U.S. Open facts

When: Thursday to Sunday

Site: The Olympic Club (Lake Course), San Francisco

Field: 156 (153 pros, 3 amateurs).

Defending champion: Ernie Els.

TV: Thursday and Friday, 3-5 p.m. (NBC) 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 5-10: 30 p.m. (ESPN); Saturday and Sunday, 2-8 p.m. (NBC); Monday (if necessary), Noon-2 p.m. (ESPN), 2 p.m.-end (NBC).

Pub Date: 6/16/98

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