• Fans were paid when professional golfers aced Greenbrier 18th
  • Hole was 137 yards; insurance called for 170 yards, suit says

Lloyd’s of London Ltd. underwriters are contesting the $192,000 paid to fans for a pair of holes-in-one as part of a promotion at the U.S. PGA Tour’s Greenbrier Classic in West Virginia, saying the hole was too short.

The insurance underwriters contend that aces made last month by PGA Tour players George McNeill and Justin Thomas on the 137-yard, par-3 18th hole violated the agreement because the hole was too short.

According to court documents, the warranty of the insurance agreement with Old White Charities, the nonprofit financial arm of the Greenbrier Classic, states that “all equipment must conform to PGA and/or USGA specifications. The designated hole must be at least 170 yards from the tee.”

In the contest, fans in the 18th hole grandstands were to receive $100 for the first hole-in-one, $500 for the second ace and $1,000 for a third. Greenbrier Resort Owner Jim Justice paid out the money. Old White Charities collected a similar insurance claim for $150,000 last year after Bud Cauley aced the 18th hole in the final round. The hole played at 175 yards on Cauley’s shot.

Jim Sweetwood, a spokesman for the tournament, said he was not able to comment on the suit.

The case is Talbot 2002 Underwriting Capital Ltd, White Mountains Re, Sirius Capital Ltd and Markel Capital Ltd v. Old White Charities Inc., 5:15-cv-12542, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia (Beckley Division).

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