Golf fans will always pull for the big names who have won countless tournaments in the past, but everyone loves to cheer for an underdog who has defied the odds to get to the point he or she is currently at. For the 2012 U.S. Open, you should look no farther than Casey Martin, who is looking to make a run this weekend against the world's best competition despite some serious health concerns.
Martin, the current head coach of the Oregon Ducks golf team, qualified for the Open despite a blood circulation issue in his right leg. He applied to use a cart during the tournament -- something typically frowned upon by most -- but don't think for a minute that he is simply trying to gain an advantage over the competition.
Here is Bob Harig of ESPN with the latest:
Those who have followed his story back to its beginning in 1997 are fully aware that a birth defect makes it very painful for him to walk and realize that a golf cart was hardly going to even the playing field for Martin. And they realize that his fight to use the cart in competition has not come close to altering the game in any meaningful way.
But a good part of that is due to Martin himself. He's a good guy, a fighter, and an excellent golfer. He handled the attention and backlash that came with his lawsuit against the PGA Tour with grace. People watched him play -- and some saw his swollen, shriveled lower leg and pronounced limp -- and realized that this guy deserved what he was asking for.
Of course, it was impossible to know all of that when Martin first emerged and attempted to go through the PGA Tour's Qualifying Tournament. Golf purists were outraged. Walking is an integral part of the game, they argued quite reasonably. Martin was granted an injunction to ride in competition, but the PGA Tour fought two lower-court victories for Martin, with the case going to the Supreme Court.
Martin will have numerous golf legends testifying against him in court, but you cannot help but hope everything works out for him. Keep fighting the good fight, Casey. Those in the state of Oregon (and hopefully many, many more) will be rooting for you this weekend at the U.S. Open.