Over 80 professional golf caddies are challenging the PGA Tour against unpaid sponsorship proceeds. The caddies say that wearing branded bibs makes them walking (unpaid) billboards
The caddies are arguing that the PGA Tour forces them to serve as human billboards by requiring them to have to wear logo-covered bibs over their shirts. However, they add that they have never consented to or been paid for the use of their likeness. All the proceeds from the bib sponsorships go directly to the PGA Tour and the caddies receive nothing.
Professional caddies on the PGA Tour work as independent contractors and receive no health insurance, retirement or other benefits from the tour. The caddies say that wearing the bibs causes them to miss out on their own endorsement and sponsorship deals that they could put towards such personal health insurance and retirement plans.
PGA Tour officials previously polled professional players about whether they would be willing to fire their caddies if they refuse to wear the bibs, according to the complaint.
Professional caddies Mike Hicks, who has caddied for the likes of Greg Norman and Payne Stewart, was named alongside Kenny Harms as the lead plaintiffs, and they are joined by more than 80 others who are seeking class-action status for the nearly 1,000 caddies who work on the PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Web.com Tour. Its understood they are looking for backdated as well as future compensation from the Tour in the legal filing entered today in the U.S. District Court in Northern District of California.
ABILITY TO WORK
The group are also looking for he court to enter a preliminary injunction that would prevent the Tour from hampering the caddies' ability to work at future tournaments while the case is pending.
"This lawsuit is intended to protect the rights of caddies who are required to endorse tour sponsors with zero compensation from the PGA Tour," said sports law attorney Eugene "Gene" Egdorf of The Lanier Law Firm in Houston.
"Any working professional deserves to be paid based on the income they generate, but that's not happening on the PGA Tour," he added.
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