DOCTOR'S VIEW ARCHIVE

The Disease that Put Golfer Casey Martin in a Cart...Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber Syndrome

On Jan. 11, 1998, with the aid of a temporary court injunction, Casey Martin became the first pro golfer outside the Senior Tour to use a cart in a tournament sanctioned by the Professional Golfers Association Tour. And in true Hollywood fashion, Martin won the event.

Many words have been devoted to Casey Martin, his suit brought against the PGA Tour under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the issues raised, and the reactions to Martin's use of the cart in a sport where such motorized conveyances have historically been taboo for the PGA Tour. Other golfers have not been loath to comment upon the Casey Martin matter. Those opposed to Casey's cart have included young Tiger Woods (who was Martin's roommate at Stanford) and the senior legend Arnie Palmer (who feels that, if he can still trek around 18 holes at his age, so can whippersnappers like the 25-year-old Martin).

Little attention has been paid to the disease itself, Klippel- Trenaunay-Weber (KTW) syndrome, which is the reason why Casey Martin needs to ride in a golf cart. The press has recycled phrases such as "a congenital circulatory disorder."

For example:

  • Casey Martin has "Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome, a congenital circulatory disorder that causes severe swelling in his right leg" (Charlie Nobles, in The New York Times)
  • "Martin suffers from a congenital circulatory disorder in his right leg...which causes severe swelling and pain, and is incurable" (Garry Smits, in The Florida Times-Union)
  • Martin has "a congenital circulatory disorder that hinders his ability to walk" (Marcia Chambers, in The New York Times)
  • "Martin (is) afflicted with Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome, congenital circulatory disorder that causes severe pain and swelling in his right leg..." (Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Dave Anderson, in The New York Times)