“No, I wouldn’t. I would absolutely not (Ride in a golf cart)”.
Those were the determined words from Tiger Woods when asked if he will seek permission from the PGA Tour to ride in a golf cart when he eventually returns to full tour status.
Woods returned to competition this weekend at the PNC Championship in Florida, a 36-hole ‘scramble’ format with his 12-year-old son Charlie, and where all competitors are allowed to use motorised carts.
And Woods admitted ahead of the Stg 830,000 event if it were not for being able to ride in a motorised cart he would not be teeing-up, just 292 days after nearly losing his life in a horrific L. A, single-car smash.
Twenty years ago, fellow American Casey Martin, born with a debilitating birth defect known as Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber Syndrome in his right leg that makes walking difficult, sought Tour permission to ride in a motorised cart. Martin could do everything a pro golfer needed to do but walk.
Martin sued the PGA Tour, with the Tour arguing that walking was an essential component of playing golf. Jack Nicklaus and Woods, then a close friend to Casey, formally agreed with the Tour. Casey won the right to ride when he played in Tour events, citing the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Woods was asked ahead of this weekend’s 20 two-person teams event if he would consider also approaching the PGA Tour to use a motorised cart.
Woods said: “No. I wouldn’t, no. No. Absolutely not. Not for a PGA Tour event, no. That’s just not who I am. That’s not how I’ve always been, and if I can’t play at that level, I can’t play at that level.
“But this week is a different event. This is a fun event. You know, you get guys that are in their ‘80s out here playing and if they didn’t have carts, we wouldn’t be able to see the likes of Lee Trevino and Gary Player out here — well, Gary’s different, never mind (laughter) he would probably be doing wind sprints on some of these holes and then doing push-ups and then, you know, a bunch of sit-ups on the greens and stuff.
“So, you wouldn’t see a lot of — some of the legends that I grew up idolising and watching, and even got a chance to play with early in my career, they wouldn’t be able to play in these events. Their bodies are too banged-up.
“But to be able to play with their child in this event, having a cart allows them to do that. And we’re out here having a great time, and that’s what it’s all about. It’s about bonding and having the time of our lives”.
And the 49-year-old Martin, once a close friend and who played two U.S. Open practice rounds in Woods company, had a jovial dig at Woods over the use of a motorised cart in ‘formal’ competition.
Martin said: “I’m gonna give him crap. I’m going to text him: Hey, I’m pumped you’re playing, but I want some kickbacks if you take a cart.”