Youngest U.S. Blind Golfer Heading to the 2022 Vision Cup
Tyler Cashman is one of six U.S. team members that have been selected to participate in the upcoming 2022 Vision Cup, an international golf competition for the blind hosted by the United States Blind Golf Association (USBGA), taking place on September 19-22, 2022.
19-year-old Tyler Cashman is one of six U.S. team members that have been selected to participate in the upcoming 2022 Vision Cup, an international golf competition for the blind hosted by the United States Blind Golf Association (USBGA). As the team's youngest member, Tyler has worked hard to earn his spot.
Born and raised in Tewksbury Township, New Jersey, Tyler started noticing issues with his vision around the fifth grade. Tyler remembers having trouble seeing the board at school, so like most children that age, he moved to the front of the classroom and got glasses. However, his vision didn’t improve, and instead, it continued to deteriorate.
Tyler’s mom Casey took him to numerous eye specialists across the country, trying to get a diagnosis and figure out what was going on with Tyler’s vision. At first, it was difficult for Tyler not only to be losing his vision but not know the cause. But as time went on, Tyler adapted and didn’t let his vision loss stop him.
It wasn’t until a coincidental encounter on an airplane that a friend met an eye specialist from Pittsburgh. The specialist was willing to take on his rare case and continues to support and search for the reason of Tyler’s declining vision loss.
“I learned I can still do anything anyone else can; I just have to do things differently,” says Tyler. “It’s important not to let it stop you from doing what you want and love.”
However, in the eighth grade, Tyler was told he had to stop playing baseball for safety reasons, due to his vision loss progressing. But Tyler loved sports and was determined to continue staying active. So, Casey and Tyler connected with the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired and learned about beep baseball and goalball, both played exclusively by athletes who are blind or vision impaired. Tyler then joined his local New Jersey beep baseball and goalball teams.
“I liked that I could meet other people with vision loss like me,” says Tyler. “I figured if they could do it, I could do it too.”
Tyler also wanted to play a team sport at his high school, so he learned to golf with the help of his grandpa. Tyler excelled in golf immediately, playing on the varsity team for three years, was team captain his senior year, and earned first-team all-county recognition.
Now a sophomore at the University of Richmond, Tyler continues to golf in USBGA tournaments, with his grandpa as his spotter.
“The spotter helps me line up and tells me the distance to the tee, basically just being my eyes,” says Tyler. “I wouldn’t be able to play golf and be where I am without my grandpa. I feel like spotters are usually overlooked, but he does so much for me, and I couldn’t do it without him.”
Being selected to play in the 2022 Vision Cup, the equivalent of the Ryder Cup, Tyler will be playing against the top players worldwide.
These top players compete in three sight categories – B-1, which is the totally blind division, and B-2 and B-3, which are the vision impaired divisions. Tyler will compete in the B-2 category, which according to the USBGA, means he has the ability to recognize the shape of a hand up to visual acuity of 20/600.
Tyler is excited to play at the course, The Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass (TPC at Sawgrass) in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, as it’s home to the PGA Tour headquarters and hosts The Players Championship, one of the PGA Tour's signature events.
“I’m really looking forward to the 17th hole, a par-3 known as the Island Green,” says Tyler. “I’ve watched it on TV, so it’ll be cool to actually play. The U.S. team has also never won the Vision Cup, so I’m excited for the chance to be a part of that winning team and hopefully be a role model to others.”
The 2022 Vision Cup is taking place on September 19-22, 2022, which includes a clinic day, where Tyler and other players will have an opportunity to teach younger children with visual loss to golf. The following days of the Vision Cup will include two days of two-person team play, and the last day is the singles match.
“As a mom, it’s so important to believe in your child and not let your own fears get in their way,” says Casey. “Tyler has proven to me, himself, and everyone else that he’s just differently abled. You can find ways to adapt and still live a fulfilling and successful life, and Tyler’s done that with golf as well as other aspect of his life. I’m so proud of him.”