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US: PGA fends off antitrust suit from cross caddies

 |  February 11, 2016

A federal judge in San Francisco has turned away a lawsuit brought by professional golf caddies who complained that the PGA Tour unlawfully required them to act as walking billboards during tournaments.

A group of caddies filed the proposed class action last February claiming that the tour violated federal antitrust laws by requiring them to wear bibs covered with advertiser logos. The case came amid growing strife between the PGA Tour and the caddies, who are hired by individual touring pros.

In a 15-page order filed Tuesday, US District Judge Vince Chhabria pointed in particular to a 2015 tournament when players were allowed to wait out a thunderstorm indoors while caddies were forced to seek shelter in an “open metal shed or in their vehicles.”

“The caddies’ overall complaint about poor treatment by the tour has merit, but this federal lawsuit about bibs does not,” the judge wrote.

According to the suit, caddies are not compensated for wearing the bibs, which bring in about $50 million a year.

Chhabria wrote that the caddies conceded in their complaint that they’ve been required to wear bibs “for decades” and that the contracts they sign at each tournament include a requirement that they wear an approved uniform. He also found that the caddies hadn’t established that the forum for advertising during the action of sporting events is a “relevant market” distinct from other types of advertisement for antitrust purposes.

Full content: Courthouse News Service

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