Tour Caddies Angered by Storm Accommodations at Honda Classic
The PGA Tour's already strained relationship with its caddies got a little bit worse at the Honda Classic on Saturday.
A torrential downpour stopped third-round play and sent players and fans scrambling for shelter in the clubhouse at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Caddies, however, do not have clubhouse access during PGA Tour events, so tournament officials shuffled them into a temporary metal structure with only three walls.
Steve Catlan, who carries Robert Streb's bag, tweeted a video from inside the shelter:
Scott Vail, Brandt Snedeker's caddie, was not working at PGA National this week but was still outraged by the way his colleagues were treated. Caddies work for the players, not the Tour, so Vail called on the pros to stand up for their caddies.
Sadly it will take a caddie to get struck by lightning and dying before the PGA tour realizes that we need indoor shelter during storms.— sv (@thescottvail) February 28, 2015
Massive problem on the PGA Tour. Storms happen and no safe(metal tents don't count) shelter for the caddies. Get it together guys!— sv (@thescottvail) February 28, 2015
Someone said earlier to me "if the players demanded action there would be change". Fellas?? Where r u? :)— sv (@thescottvail) February 28, 2015
Kenny Harms, who caddies for Kevin Na, said that what happened Saturday was "totally unacceptable."
Harms serves on the board of directors for the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, a trade association founded in 2013 to "unite caddies for the betterment of the profession.”
"The PGA Tour should be embarrassed about what happened this weekend," he said. "It's not the first time that caddies have been left outside in a metal tent during an electrical storm, and it shows a disregard for the lives of the caddies on Tour."
Harms said caddie safety is the most important issue the caddies association champions and called on the Tour to abolish the rule the prevents caddies from entering the clubhouse. According to Harms, there would have been plenty of room for the caddies in the locker room at PGA National.
"My hope is that the players will stand up and tell the Tour that they need to improve drastically," he said. "This is 2015. Why are we still back in the 1920s?"
In February, a group of caddies, including Harms, filed a $50 million class action lawsuit against the PGA Tour, alleging that the Tour "has treated caddies as second-class participants of the game" and seeking remuneration for advertising revenue generated by wearing caddie bibs.
"They're just making our case stronger and stronger," Harms said.