Casey Martin is recovering at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. His right leg, or his back leg, as he called it in his life as a golfer, was amputated above the knee in a three and a half hour operation. on the afternoon of October 15th. That infamous leg that has suffered from circulatory disorder since birth that won a national championship alongside Notah Begay at Stanford in 1994 that made the Supreme Court debate the essence of competitive golf that made Jack Nicklaus reluctantly testify to Carts, who qualified for two US Open, which sometimes made him cry when getting in and out, won’t bother anyone anymore.

The night before the surgery, the doctors couldn’t tell how high to cut. In Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome, the potential for excessive bone bleeding and other complications from amputation is severe, even fatal. And they just didn’t know what to do until they went inside.

“The doctors prepared us for the worst,” said the older brother Cameron, who is in the clinic with her father. “But the report is [the doctors] I feel like it went well as they saved as much bones above the knee as they hoped. This should give him a good chance of a prosthesis that will be effective. ”

Martin broke his leg two years ago. Road work in front of his house, collecting the trash cans in the dark at night, the curb suddenly twenty or ten centimeters lower than his motor skills remembered. He avoided precisely this kind of inadvertent move by driving a cart in 2000, his only full season on the PGA Tour Never Healed.

“I’ve exceeded in many ways what my doctors told me as a child,” Martin told me two weeks ago of his decision to continue the operation, a version of a conversation he’d had quietly with his loved ones for months, including an emotional team meeting with his players at the start of the university from Oregon Ducks gentlemen autumn Golf season. “I always felt that this would be my destiny. It’s strange to be here now and being seriously disfigured, but it’s not unexpected. “

The coming months will be grueling for Martin, whose surgical wound has to heal before he begins the difficult process of finding and fitting a prosthesis. Perhaps the personal ordeal of his last two years belted him for it. In his 15th and 16th seasons as the Ducks head coach, he has struggled with crutches in training, airport security on recruitment trips, up and down the stairs of unfamiliar clubhouses, to and from rental car centers. The easier itinerary imposed by the pandemic has been a blessing, but not complete. As he watched his ducks fall from their height National and conference championship seasons 2016 and 2017, He also moved out of his house because of a divorce. His main breathing space was regular visits to the driving range, where he could hobble from a cart to a pile of balls and, amazingly, still brush 8 iron for 30 minutes with the broken leg held in place by an ExoSym cast. He “lived on Aleve” for fear of addiction to painkillers that actually work.

“I am a Stack and tilt golfer times a thousand, all my weight on my left side, ”said Martin on the range at the Colonial Collegiate Invitational in Fort Worth, his last event as an active head coach, in which the Ducks finished 13th out of 15 points strong teams. “It was a difficult time. But luckily I can laugh about it. “

While Martin recovers, assistant coach, longtime friend and 2000 US amateur champion Jeff Quinney will take over the leadership of the Ducks.

“Although I’ve only been here a short time, I believe Casey trusts me to continue what he built with the kids, this passion, enjoying the effort to get better,” said Quinney. “I don’t think any of us can honestly know how much pain we’ve been through. But he never complained or sought sympathy. Hopefully his everyday life will be a little easier in the not too distant future. ”

It will be some time before Martin finds out how to walk again. But the prospect of playing better golf, even tournament golf, with a prosthesis is a dream that he has made come true. Martin said he played some of the best golf courses of his life right before he broke his leg. He will be 50 in June.

“It still makes that peculiar sound of compressing the ball that you notice when you go down a range,” says Quinney. “Who knows, maybe he’s in a great mental place. He could just be free to let it go. “

But right now Casey Martin is just happy to be alive.