Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Golf, Believe It Or Not

Eli 10.10 has started playing golf.

We've only been out to hit balls twice, but his improvement from session one to session two was ridiculous, as expected. I'll have some video for you next week, probably.

The U.S. Open starts on Thursday, and there are two stories that are quite remarkable. The first involves Casey Martin, who has Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome, which makes it almost impossible for him to walk any distance.

Martin was a terrific golfer in is younger days, skilled enough to play on the PGA Tour, and he sued the tour in 1997 to force them to allow him to use a cart (under the Americans with Disabilities Act). The PGA Tour did what a bunch of old white men would be expected to do, which is fight tooth and nail all the way to the Supreme Court, where they predictably lost.

Martin played on the tour for one year, was met with a shameful amount of criticism (for what, exactly?), and played in the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club in 1998, finishing 23rd.

He's now the golf coach at the University of Oregon, and decided to try to qualify for the U.S. Open this year, since it was once again being held at The Olympic Club. He hadn't played competitive golf in years, but played lights out in the qualifiers and actually made it into the field.

I would expect Martin to be bitter about what happened to him, but he's not. He's one of those people who can find a good outcome in just about everything that happens.

If you want to read more: Martin qualifies for U.S. Open 14 years after cart controversy.

The second story is that, incredibly, a 14-year-old is in the field as well: 14-year-old Zhang poised for US Open start. He was the second alternate after losing out in a playoff in qualifying, but two players dropped out due to injuries.

An eighth-grader.

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