Casey Martin's legacy rides on thanks to MacKinzie Kline, Annika and the LPGA
Common sense and pro golf often go together about as well as Michael Vick and PETA. Common decency is an even more elusive commodity in a sport that largely remains an insider's playpen where anyone who doesn't conform is met with disdain.
Years after Martin's medical condition helped turn him into a coach - and left those who chose not to support him, including his former college teammate Tiger Woods to think about their own actions - another golfer who needs to ride has come along.
This time, it's a 15-year-old girl with a congenital heart defect whose doctors once wondered if she'd live to age 2. This time, there's no debate, no histrionics, no impassioned pleas about protecting the sanctity of the game.
MacKinzie Kline will play in Annika Sorenstam's LPGA event, the Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika, this week near Charleston, S.C. She'll be the first golfer in LPGA history allowed to ride a golf cart because of a medical condition.
And this will not be close to the first thing that has people talking about her.
Carolyn Bivens - who made enough wrong decisions in her first year as the LPGA's leader to be called the worst commissioner in sports by TravelGolf.com's Tim McDonald - quickly made the right one without fanfare or self promotion on Kline. Martin already fought the fight of course, but some surprising common sense and decency went into this one too.
Kline's problem with walking 18 holes isn't nearly as obvious to the eye as Martin's. She's easily fatigued, but looks like any other teenager. Only the oxygen tank in the cart gives it away.
It helps that Sorenstam - still the real No. 1 in women's golf until Lorena Ochoa wins a major - gave Kline the exemption into the Ginn.
Can you imagine Tiger bringing in a golfer with a cart into his new tournament?
Casey Martin's legacy rides on though, in a courageous girl who had a hole in her heart repaired just last year.
Atlanta has never really been known as a tourist draw but now it's courting visitors like it once courted companies. That's good new for golfers. There are roughly 60 golf courses in and around the city, including some of the state's best plays. The relentless traffic makes them a tad difficult to get to sometimes, but trust us, rounds like Bear's Best Golf Club and TPC Sugarloaf are well worth a bit of bumper-to-bumper frustration.
Detroit's Metro Airport in Wayne County remains the country's 10th-busiest, so business travelers are certain to have a layover there eventually. There are numerous golf courses and driving ranges close enough that you can squeeze in a round without missing your connection, so don't waste time sitting around the airport. Dust off your golf swing at one of the fine area golf courses, including Fox Hills, Eagle Crest and Taylor Meadows.
Author Kevin Cook on his new book,