Williams joins caddies' lawsuit

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DORAL, Fla. – Attorneys representing a group of caddies in a class-action lawsuit against the PGA Tour plan to re-file the complaint, expanding the original suit to more than 150 caddies including one of the game’s most high-profile bagmen.

Gene Egdorf, the Houston-based attorney leading the lawsuit for the caddies, said he plans to resubmit the original complaint within 10 days with an estimated 70 more plaintiffs, including Steve Williams.

“I don’t think the Tour has treated the caddies in a correct manner for a long time,” Williams told GolfChannel.com from his home in New Zealand. “I think this is a good starting point to get the Tour and the caddies in a better stead.”

Although Williams has not caddied since last year’s Tour Championship, he’s a 36-year veteran of the caddie yard and his time with Tiger Woods will be particularly relevant to the lawsuit that was filed last month in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

Williams said he was fined numerous times by the Tour, including on at least seven occasions one season, for taking his caddie bib off while he was on the 18th green of a tournament. The New Zealander said each fine cost him $500.

More than 80 caddies originally filed the lawsuit, which claims they are forced to wear logo-covered bibs without receiving any proceeds from contracts that lawyers for the caddies estimate are valued at $50 million annually.

“I feel real strongly about it,” said Williams, who planned to take a year off from caddying in 2015. “Caddie bibs are archaic as a piece of clothing. I’m not saying sponsors shouldn’t have some sort of advertising on the caddies, but the actually bib is archaic.”

Caddie treatment at Tour events prompted the creation of the Association of Professional Tour Caddies last year and the issue received a large amount of attention last week at the Honda Classic when caddies were forced to wait out a weather delay in a tent many felt was not safe given the conditions.

The APTC tried to negotiate with the Tour for better working conditions and secure funding for health care benefits and a retirement program, but those talks broke down earlier this season, leading to last month’s lawsuit.

“The caddies are not employed by the Tour, they are employed by the golfer and there is no compensation from the Tour to the caddies but the Tour gets compensated for the caddies wearing the bibs,” Williams said. “They treat the caddies like second-class citizens.”

The Tour does not comment on ongoing litigation.