The battle between the PGA Tour and its caddies seems to be heading for a battle of epic proportions.
On Tuesday, a group of caddies filed a class action lawsuit against the PGA Tour in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, seeking $50 million in compensation for the revenue earned by the tour from the sponsorship logos they wear on their bibs. The caddies contest that they have not given the tour their consent to use their likeness or image for commercial use. Also mentioned in the suit is the lack of “basic health care coverage and access to pension plans” for caddies.
While most have had no comment on the ongoing litigation, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem did mention the suit on Wednesday, but didn’t get into any particulars, only noting that players are responsible for their caddies — not the tour.
“Most people don’t understand the way a caddie-player relationship works. It goes back a long way,” Finchem told the media. “[The player] makes an arrangement with somebody that’s going to carry the bag and work with him. They work out a financial arrangement.
“The historical process is the player handles that.”
Finchem also noted that the tour gives caddies a $2,000 stipend for health insurance and said he “would like it to continue,” but that the tour will have to see “what comes from the lawsuit.”
The two sides were in talks, but the group of caddies — led by veteran Mike Hicks — felt that when those negotiations broke down, a suit was in their best interest.
“There was a lot of optimism we could get something worked out with the Tour,” said Gene Egdorf, the attorney for the caddies.”As of a couple months ago, the caddies were told they weren’t going to get any more money for retirement and health insurance. There’s never been a belief the tour is negotiating in good faith.
“There is a lot of anger out there now.”
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