Pigs And Trials: Vijay Singh v. PGA Tour

By: Rob Harris

I have been writing about Vijay Singh’s lawsuit against the PGA Tour since shortly after it was filed. On May 8, 2013, after expressing my opinion that Vijay’s legal claims were weak, I aasked, “if Singh’s legal claims are dubious, then why start a lawsuit?” I offered the following possible explanations:

“1. My legal analysis is wrong and Singh has a strong case. (I’m confident that’s what his lawyers will say.)

“2. Even though the claims are weak, litigation is Legal Lotto and “you can’t win if you don’t play.” (Doesn’t seem to fit Vijay’s image. And he will do nothing to help himself by prolonging a crusade against the organization that feeds him.)

“3. He’s angry and acting emotionally. (Understandable, but he’s surrounded by well paid talent who think rationally.)

“4. He wants a public settlement in which the Tour acknowledges it was wrong, in order to be perceived as a victim rather than an ageing player who skirted the line by using–you must be kidding–deer antler spray. BINGO.

I predicted that “protracted litigation will hurt both the Tour and Singh. The case will settle in short order. Of course, I’ve been wrong before.”

Wrong I was. Three years later, the case is getting closer to trial, although I remain convinced that it will settle before the first witness is called.

To this point, there’s a great article in  Golf WRX about the current state of the lawsuit. It begins this way:

“There’s a saying lawyers like to use when talking to a client about whether it’s worth litigating a case, and in its various forms it goes something like this:

YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BE CAREFUL BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO WRESTLE WITH A PIG. BECAUSE ONLY TWO THINGS ARE GUARANTEED TO HAPPEN: YOU GET DIRTY AND THE PIG LIKES IT.

“Never has that been truer than in the case of Singh v. PGA Tour. A recent ruling by the trial judge has blown the case wide open. The judge has issued an order that documents exchanged by the parties are no longer confidential and no longer have to be redacted. That means all documents filed in court are open record and the media will now have full access, which could be a game changer that will test the PGA Tour’s resolve to continue its defense against Singh.”

As the article posits, correctly in my opinion,

“If the case gets to trial, there is a very real chance it turns ugly. Singh’s lawyer will put Tim Finchem on the stand and grill him over the PGA Tour’s policies and why they treated Singh differently. Finchem will have to respond and will have to tell the truth. It’s very possible there is testimony regarding other players suspensions and why they were treated differently than Singh…

“Singh doesn’t have those issues. The PGA Tour already aired his dirty laundry. The question now is, how much are they about to pay for it?”


 

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