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PGA Tour to provide caddies health insurance subsidy

October 18, 2018

UPDATE: This post has been adjusted to include a statement of clarification from the PGA Tour.

After suing the PGA Tour in 2015, the PGA Tour caddies appear to be getting some of what they wanted: healthcare coverage.

The Tour announced that it will be establishing a healthcare program for all PGA Tour caddies and will help caddies and their families pay for healthcare coverage, according to the Caddie Network.

“I’m delighted we’ve got to this point and I speak on behalf of all caddies when I say we truly look forward to a healthy working relationship with the Tour moving forward,” Association of Professional Tour Caddies president Scott Sajtinac said.

The APTC had been leading the charge to help offset the costs of health insurance for caddies and their families. Some of the initiatives that the APTC had been pushing for included finding sponsors for caddie bibs, shirt sleeves, and hats.

“That’s a huge chunk of change,” Sajtinac told the Caddie Network. “And it’s not like having coverage means you don’t keep paying. Most plans for individuals mean you’re still on the hook for 20 percent of costs, after a deductible, if you claim anything. This was crushing some caddie families out on Tour.”

When the Tour got wind of what the caddies were looking to do, those in charge all but shot it down and blocked caddies from making money off of the apparel they wore on the course.

“We were told the bib is out of bounds because it wasn’t ours, even though we were the ones wearing it each and every week, plastered with different corporate logos,” Sajtinac said. “Communication and dialogue to try and navigate through all this rapidly ended before it really even began — and we were left in no man’s land.”

As a result, the caddies sued the PGA Tour for not doing enough to help them cover health insurance costs. However, they did not find much success in the court room, as they lost their class-action suit in February 2016 and their appeal in August 2018. This week there was plenty made of the lawsuit and subsidy to be connected, but the Tour asserts they are not. The Tour provided the following statement on the matter:

“Regarding the lawsuit, which the PGA TOUR won in District Court and which victory was upheld on appeal, we are pleased that this matter has concluded and look forward to moving on. Separate and apart from the lawsuit, the TOUR had been reviewing a potential increase to the longtime caddie health care subsidy, and we know the caddies are appreciative of the decision to do so. Although these two items have been reported together, they are not connected. The PGA TOUR looks forward to continuing to support the caddies in the important role they play in the success of our members.”