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MARTIN'S MILLIONS? CASEY STEPS TO THE MARKETING PLATE
Published February 24, 1998
Casey Martin is "fielding an avalanche of offers that are extraordinary for a golfer who has not reached the top level" of the PGA Tour, according to Thomas Heath of the WASHINGTON POST. In addition to his Nike apparel deal, worth between $50,000-$75,000 a year with additional income if he earns his PGA Tour card, Martin has deals pending with a national insurance group and a golf equipment manufacturer. The two new sponsor deals will be announced March 3, with a third new deal "imminent." Martin has also received more than 20 requests to appear in corporate- sponsored golf outings and PGA Tour tournaments across the country. Martin: "If someone's willing to pay me to represent them, I'm not going to turn them down. I'm a little uncomfortable with the fact that it's done ... because of my leg." NBC's "Dateline" will also feature Martin shortly (WASHINGTON POST, 2/24). In GA, Witsil & Cline reported that officials at E-Z-GO Textron, the nation's largest golf cart maker, have held discussions with Signature Sports Group, Martin's agency, about a possible golf cart endorsement deal. An agreement could be "rendered moot," however, if the PGA Tour decides Martin should ride in a single person scooter (Augusta CHRONICLE, 2/22). EXEMPTIONS: Martin writes in GOLF WORLD: "I have no intention of pursuing any sponsors' exemptions on the PGA Tour, at least not now" (GOLF WORLD, 2/2O). CNN/SI's Jaime Diaz: "Until he knows his game can handle the pressure, it's probably not worth the risk" ("Pro Golf Weekly," CNN, 2/21). MORE CASEY: Jack Nicklaus, on the Martin ruling: "I'm really worried about the long-term effects on the game of golf. ... When you really get down to playing serious tournament golf it's a whole different ballgame, and I know the average person just doesn't understand it" ("Up Close," ESPN, 2/20). AD AGE's Rance Crain credits the PGA Tour for "ignoring the obvious bonanza for itself and its corporate sponsors that will come its way now that" Martin is allowed to use a cart. The Tour, in "protecting the integrity of the game, is determined to keep the likable" Martin out of events "even though his presence will draw huge support for golf." Crain: "Instead of deriding the PGA Tour for trying to de-ride Mr. Martin, let's be thankful that there is one group willing to spurn all the good feeling -- not to mention corporate opportunity -- that will flow to golf because of Mr. Martin's brave determination" (AD AGE, 2/23).