Going for the Green: Investors Seek Win in Second Circuit

In 2014, shareholders of the for-profit corporation Winged Foot Holding Company (WFHC) filed suit alleging the company had breached its fiduciary duty under New York Business Corporation Law Section 720 and unjustly enriched itself. This suit stems from the WFHC Directors’ 2013 extension of a 1947 lease agreement to use the golf club grounds. Under the lease agreement, the annual rental payment is $30,000. In their complaint, filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the shareholders alleged that WFHC’s…
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Hank Haney Sues PGA Tour, Claims They Forced SiriusXM to Cancel His Radio Show

Hank Haney, former SiriusXM radio host and coach for Tiger Woods, filed a lawsuit against the PGA Tour, alleging that they put pressure on Sirius to cancel his radio show. Back in May, on the “Hank Haney Golf Radio” show on SiriusXM, Haney made comments about the U.S. Women’s Open that caused backlash. These comments were taken to be sexist and racist, and Haney both apologized on air and released a formal apology. Sirius initially responded by suspending Haney before cancelling his show altogether. Now,…
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The Historical Significance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2001 decision in PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin

On January 17, 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin. Historically, the court has often strayed from sports-related disputes, although there are some landmark cases which were exceptions and shaped the national landscape of sports. However, the dispute in Martin spanned greatly beyond a mere sports-related dispute. The issue was simple: does using a golf cart fundamentally alter a tournament? However, the larger legal question was whether the American Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) supersedes the rules of…
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Stephen Curry’s “Holey Moley” Faces Trademark Complaint in California Court

Fun Lab IP Co. Pty. Ltd. filed a trademark complaint in California federal court against Los Angeles-based Eureka Productions, claiming that the title of Eureka’s upcoming ABC game-show, Holey Moley, infringes on a popular Australian mini-golf chain of the same name. The show, which is hosted by two-time NBA Finals MVP and executive producer, Stephen Curry, and is advertised as a competitive mini-golf competition, will involve head-to-head matches between 12 contestants. Each episode, contestants will compete for a $25,000 prize on what an
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TaylorMade Takes Case to Patent Trial and Appeal Board

On August 30, 2018, the United States Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) agreed to hear two challenges by TaylorMade Golf Company, Inc. (TaylorMade) against its fellow golf manufacture rival, Parsons Xtreme Golf LLC (Xtreme). The patents in question, US Patent No. 9,199,143 and US Patent No. 8,961,336 were previously filed by Xtreme and have remained a source of contention between the two companies for over a year. Back in September 2017, Xtreme accused TaylorMade of selling golf clubs that infringed multiple of Xtreme’s patents,…
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Vijay Singh Moving Closer to Trial on Opposition of Doping Suspension

In September 2017, the Sports and Entertainment Law Insider reported that Vijay Singh’s lawsuit against the PGA Tour was heading for trial. That conclusion became clearer as a
New York appellate court affirmed a decision to deny the PGA Tour’s motion for summary judgment on Thursday, June 21, 2018. Singh was suspended by the PGA in 2013 for allegedly violating the tour’s anti-doping policy. Believing he was abiding by all rules, Singh discussed using deer-antler spray to aid pain in a Sports Illustrated article. Singh…
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USGA Reaches Agreement with Shinnecock Indian Nation Ahead of U.S. Open

The United States Golf Association (USGA) will host the 2018 United States Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York on June 14-17. This will be the fifth time the national championship is held at Shinnecock, and the first time since 2004. The second ever U.S. Open was played at Shinnecock in 1896, which marked the start of a long standing relationship between the USGA and the Shinnecock Indian Nation. Shinnecock Hills Golf Club was constructed on land once owned by the Shinnecock…
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UPDATE: Former Professional Golfer Sued

On January 24, 2018, drink and dietary supplement company, Organo Gold International Inc., sued 62-year-old former professional golfer Greg Norman, Aussie Rules Marine Services, Ltd., and ABG-Shark, LLC, in Washington federal court. Norman controls Aussie, a foreign company organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands. Also, Norman has an existing partnership with ABG. Back in March of 2017, Norman partnered with, and gave, ABG the right to control “the direction of the consumer products division of The Greg Norman Company.” In their…
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Dispute Over the Trademark “Green Jacket” Continues

On January 10, 2018, Green Jacket Auctions filed suit in Georgia federal court and back on January 2, 2018, Green Jacket Auctions filed an identical suit in Florida federal court. Both suits seek to prevent the transfer of the domain name “greenjacketauctions.com” from Green Jacket Auctions to Augusta National, Inc., host of the annual Masters Golf Tournament. Green Jacket Auctions is an online golf memorabilia auctioneer and appraiser. The company was formed in 2006 by its two, and only employees, Ryan Carey and Bob Zafian.…
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Golf Caddies Ask for Mulligan in Suit Over PGA Tour Bib-Ads

On October 12, 2017, golf caddies urged the Ninth Circuit to revive their proposed antitrust class action against PGA Tour Inc. for allegedly exploiting them as walking advertisements. The golf caddies claimed the lower court erred by using evidence outside of their complaint to interpret the contracts and that they had no chance to respond to the court’s arguments. In their original lawsuit filed by over 80 caddies in February 2015, the caddies alleged that PGA Tour earns $50 million a year from a policy…
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