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Martin Wants To Focus on the Course

August 5, 1998 GMT

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ Casey Martin has grown weary of celebrity. Now, he just wants to play good golf.

Allowed to use a cart in competition under a judicial ruling, Martin spoke wistfully of the day when attention fades from his federal court case.

``I would hope that would happen,″ said Martin, his weakened right leg stretched under the table as he spoke from a clubhouse veranda. ``But here we are in August and it hasn’t happened yet.″

He clearly has tired of discussing the courts, the cart and the circulatory disorder in his leg that makes walking difficult.

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Unfortunately, Martin has not been playing well enough to be asked about much else.

He is ranked 25th on the Nike money list with winnings of $60,401. He is not among the top 10 statistical leaders in any category on the tour.

Martin, who plays this week in the Omaha Nike Classic, spoke grudgingly Tuesday, saying he simply wished he had more to show from his golf game.

``I haven’t played very well,″ he said. ``I feel like my game is not in good shape and I haven’t been able to really get hot yet.″

Martin took advantage of a sponsor exemption for the first time to move up to the PGA Tour from the Nike Tour.

He tied for 23rd in the U.S. Open in June, then tied for 66th in the PGA Tour’s Quad City Classic and missed the cut at the Canon Greater Hartford Open last month. He missed the cut again at the St. Louis Classic three weeks ago in his return to the Nike Tour.

Martin returned to the Nike Tour in hopes of winning a PGA Tour card for the 1999 season. But only the top 15 players make it.

Martin said all the attention may have detracted from his game, but he would not speculate further.

Taciturn and abrupt, Martin was far removed from the man who remembered being close to tears on the first tee at the U.S. Open.

While he spoke about playing nine holes at The Champions Club on Monday, his eyes were guarded as he waited for the inevitable questions about his cart. When the first one came, he sighed.

``My life has changed a lot,″ he said.