Casey Martin: NW native at home as head coach of the Ducks

Updated: September 3, 2019

By Steve Turcotte, Inside Golf Editor

When you hear the name Casey Martin there are several things that quickly come to mind.

   • He was a college teammate of Tiger Woods at Stanford.

   • He was a player on both the PGA Tour and Tours. He didn’t win on the PGA Tour but did win on the Tour.

   • He has been the longstanding coach of the University of Oregon men’s golf team, leading the Ducks to the national championship in 2016 and then second in the 2017 season.

   • He is battling with a birth defect in his right leg called Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome, which cuts off the circulation and makes it difficult for him to walk.

   • He fought and won a court case with the PGA Tour to ride in a golf cart.

   Casey Martin’s life could be a Hollywood movie. And there would be some parts you still wouldn’t believe have happened. He is from Eugene, having gone to South Eugene High School before heading to Stanford to play college golf. He was briefly a teammate of Tiger Woods and enjoyed a professional career starting in 1998 playing on both the and PGA Tours. In 1999, Martin finished 14th on, what was called then the Nike Tour, and earned a spot on the PGA Tour.

Martin is now 47 years old and has carved out a terrific career as coach of the Oregon men’s golf team. He has seen some players earn All-American status and enjoy success on the PGA Tour including Aaron Wise and Wyndham Clark. Martin was named head coach prior to the 2006-07 season and the Ducks began their rise up the college ranks. He has coached 13 All-Americans along the way.

Martin has seen the game of golf change through the years – especially when he is looking for recruits for his Oregon team. “The game is changing – or has changed,” said the 47-year-old Martin. “It’s becoming a bombers game. The kids these days are all young and athletic- they are encouraged to take the driver and just pound it down the fairway.”

Martin said 30 years ago golf was a shotmakers game, but now it is shifting, or has shifted, to a power game. “The kids these days are fearless and can putt like crazy,” said Martin.

He is also known for his battle with the PGA Tour when he sued and won the right to ride in a golf cart under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court.

Now at age 47, he is close to playing on the Champions Tour where he knows he could be competitive – and riding a cart is permitted. 

“I still play OK,” Martin said. “The college kids keep me motivated and keep it fresh. I’ll think about the Champions Tour – I will keep the game ready just in case.”