The Loop

'Bib-gate' continues as caddies appeal dismissal of lawsuit against PGA Tour


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OAKMONT, Pa. -- Four months after a U.S. district judge dismissed its lawsuit against the PGA Tour, 168 caddies have filed an appeal in an attempt to, among other things, be compensated for wearing bibs adorned with logos from tour sponsors.

Attorneys representing caddie Mike Hicks and his peers filed a motion in the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday stating that the February 2016 ruling dismissing the case was made in error and should be overturned. The 66-page brief outlines various reasons the suit should be allowed to proceed, including a claim that the trial court did not proper conduct its fact-finding before reaching its decision.

The original suit, filed in January 2015, claimed that the tour receives more than $50 million each year in revenue from bib sponsorship. The caddies, however, do not receive any of that money for wearing the bids as they are not paid by the tour but rather by the players who employ them.

In the dismissal, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria noted that the caddies voluntarily agreed to wear the bibs by accepting a contractual uniform requirement. Additionally, caddies could negotiate their own sponsorship agreements.

Attorneys for the caddies, however, state that the caddies had no choice but accept the uniform requirement or be told they could not work at tour events. They also argue that wearing the bib inhibits the opportunities for caddies to secure their own sponsor deals.

“Sure, caddies are told they can have their own sponsors,” said Richard D. Meadow, an attorney at The Lanier Law Firm, which represents the caddies, “but what good does that do if they’re forced to cover their shirts with other sponsors who are paying them nothing and instead putting tens of millions of dollars in the tour’s pocket?”

Officials at the PGA Tour had no comment regarding the appeal.

Hicks is not on the bag of any player competing this week at the U.S. Open.