Golf Caddies Sue PGA Tour
According to Sport Business Daily, over 80 pro golf caddies have “filed a class-action, anti-trust lawsuit against the PGA Tour alleging improper use of the caddies’ ‘likenesses and images,'” according to Dennis Dodd of CBSSPORTS.com. The pending suit is very similar to the “landmark O’Bannon vs. NCAA action — seeks access to what it says is a revenue stream” worth $50M annually from caddies’ “wearing of traditional ‘bibs’ adorned with sponsors logos.” The caddies are “required to display those sponsors’ logos controlled by the Tour that derives revenue from them.” The suit states that the Tour denied the caddies to “profit from sponsors’ logos worn on bibs that are required” by the PGA Tour “without compensation.” Dodd noted the suit “seeks unspecified actual damages and royalties attributable” to the Tour’s use of the caddies.
Houston based Lanier Law Firm attorney Gene Egdorf will be representing the plaintiffs in this suit and he said that caddies have been “’a little reticent’ about taking legal action for fear of retribution by the Tour, but that there was no alternative after caddies have historically been told, ‘No, no, no.’” Egdorf added that more caddies “might have joined the suit but abstained for fear of losing their jobs.” Egdorf said that it is “too early to know if settlement talks will be initiated.”
GOLF.com’s Michael McCann reported the caddies “have petitioned the court to certify Hicks v. PGA Tour as a class action on behalf” of all caddies residing in the U.S. who, “without pay, wear or have worn bibs bearing the logos of the Tour’s sponsors during tournaments.” This proposed class “would include about 1,000 caddies and potentially threaten the PGA Tour with hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.”