The Court did, however, give advocates of the ADA one victory in PGA Tour v. Martin (2001). The Professional Golfers Association prohibited the use of golf carts in its tours. Casey Martin, a would-be professional golfer with a degenerative circulatory disorder in one leg, made a request, supported by detailed medical records, for permission to use a golf cart during a tournament. After the sponsor refused to review the medical records or to waive the walking rule, Martin filed suit under the ADA, claiming that the law required an operator of public accommodations (in this case a golf course), to make reasonable modifications in its policies when necessary to enabled disabled persons to use the facilities. He won in district court, and much to joy of hundreds of thousands of golfers who already use carts, the Supreme Court upheld the suit and ordered the PGA to allow Martin to use a cart.

In a 7-2 opinion, written by Justice Stevens, the Court held that Martin met the definitions of a disabled person under the ADA, and that the law applied to the PGA and to sponsors of its tours. Only Justice Scalia, joined by Thomas, dissented, arguing that when a golf course was reserved for a tournament, it ceased to be a public area under the definitions of the ADA.

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