These caddies may have lost a lawsuit against PGA, but here’s why they haven’t lost the war

Sharon Wong
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caddie

SEE ALSO: Robert Allenby is the kind of man caddies need to run from.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a grown man who’d willingly wear a bib and these caddies are no exception. Quite aside from the infantilizing implications of the word “bib”, the irate caddies resented being used as “human billboards” for tournament sponsors. At least, they didn’t want to do it for free. The 168 caddies decided to take on the PGA Tour to demand monetary compensation for their involuntary services. A valiant attempt, surely, by the laymen of the golf course. But all of this ended as well as you’d expect when you challenge a giant like the PGA Tour and the caddies ended up going home empty-handed.

Unsympathetic US District Court Judge Vince Chhabria said, “The caddies’ overall complaint of poor treatment by the Tour has merit, but this federal lawsuit about bibs does not. So caddies know when they enter the profession, that wearing a bib during tournaments is part of the job… for that reason, there is no merit to the caddies’ contention that contracts somehow prevent the tour from requiring them to wear bibs.”

From his words alone, “part of the job”, we can observe a latent prejudice at work. While caddies do indeed have a plush job with a cushy income, there is something to be said about the prevalent attitude that their duty is to act as walking advertisements for the big boys. From where we’re standing, it seems like caddies are not focused on being paid so much as having their humanity acknowledged in some way. Despite not having gotten exactly what they came for, they have managed to get themselves heard in an industry where they’re not even considered important enough to step foot in a clubhouse. Whatever the outcome is, it is always a huge thing to be gain some hard-won recognition. We hope that they’ll retain the courage to continue speaking out against their own marginalization. That way, even if everyone else disagreed, they won’t be ignored