Connect with us

Opinion & Analysis

Breaking down Oakley’s lawsuit against Nike

Published

on

Eye-wear giant, Oakley, filed suit in Federal Court in California on December 10, 2012, against Rory McIlroy for breach of contract. The suit alleges McIlroy breached the terms of his contract  with Oakley by refusing to accept Oakley’s offer to match the clothing and eye-wear portion of McIlroy’s Nike contract. Oakley claims the terms of their contract with McIlroy allowed them the right to match any deal McIlroy may sign with another company.

In court papers, Oakley estimates the value of the eye-wear and clothing portion of McIlroy’s new deal with Nike at 30 percent of the total contract. The actual amount is left blank in the suit, but, assuming Nike is paying McIlroy $200 million dollars, Oakley would have offered somewhere between $60 to $70 million to retain his services.

Oakley is further alleging they are irreparably harmed by McIlroy’s refusal to renew his contract with Oakley, and an injunction should be issued against McIlroy and Nike from contracting. The argument is that monetary damages cannot make Oakley whole for McIlroy’s breach of contract. Oakley will likely cite to the “intrinsic” value of having the No. 1 player in the world sporting their gear, and there is no way to quantify the amount that is worth. If the injunction is successful, McIlroy would not be allowed to wear Nike gear or eyewear until the lawsuit is decided.

The issue will likely come down to a number of emails between Oakley and McIlroy’s representatives. In September of 2012, an Oakley representative emailed McIlory’s agent, saying, “We are out of the mix, no contract for 2013.” McIlroy’s attorneys will argue Oakley waived their right of first refusal by saying they were out of the picture allowing McIlroy to sign with whomever he wanted. Oakley is pointing to emails from October of 2012 from McIlroy’s attorneys stating, “[McIlroy] would not be continuing his relationship with Oakley beyond Dec. 31” and they “would not engage in any further correspondence on the matter of the right of first refusal.”

Even if Oakley’s lawsuit is successful, it is highly unlikely we will see Rory sporting Oakley gear again. Contract law is pretty clear; only in rare circumstances will a court order a person or company to specially perform under the terms of a contract. McIlroy may coff up some of his Nike money, but that means little. However, that doesn’t mean Oakley won’t attempt to argue this is one of those rare circumstances where a person of Rory’s value should be bound to perform under the terms of his contract.

But it hasn’t been all bad news for Oakley. The “O” has already taken steps to mitigate the loss of McIlroy by signing Zack Johnson and Bubba Watson for the 2013 season. Johnson, who already wore Oakley sunglasses, will now sport Oakley’s golf apparel line as well.

Oakley’s largest golfing market is America, and Bubba is more marketable to the average American than McIlroy will ever be. He has a goofy personality, is prolific on Twitter, doesn’t mind a good cry and hits the ball ridiculously long. Plus, one would have to assume that Bubba and Zach Johnson signed for much less combined than the $60 to $70 million Oakley offered McIlroy. By the end of the year, we may be calling Bubba and Johnson a better signing for the money than McIlroy.

*Seth Kerr is a practicing attorney in the areas of contract law and business litigation and has personally handled injunction related legal issues in both state and federal court. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW1
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Seth is an avid golfer playing year round in Florida.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Danny

    Jan 12, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Rory is about to pull a David Duval, who cares?

    • Brandell

      Jan 15, 2013 at 10:23 pm

      Are you out of your mind? Hes the future king of the game… Not bubba!

  2. Pingback: The Links: Polling wunderkind Silver and gambling on golf – CBSSports.com (blog) - Golfing Tips & More!

  3. Pingback: The Links: interesting look at gambling on golf |

  4. Pingback: The Links: interesting look at gambling on golf – CBS sports.com (blog) | Golf Update

  5. Pingback: The Links: interesting look at gambling on golf – CBS sports.com (blog) - Golfing Tips & More!

  6. Pingback: The Links: interesting look at gambling on golf | Sport News

  7. Blanco

    Jan 10, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    C’mon Oakley– you’ll be okay. Dog the Bounty Hunter is still rocking the Thumps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion & Analysis

The History of Course Design is Yours to Play at Oglebay

Published

on

There is a much-talked about “New Golden Age” of golf course design underway that is driven by demand for ever-more spectacular courses at the top end of the resort golf market. Destinations such as Streamsong, Bandon Dunes, Cabot Links, Sand Valley and others provide the traveling golfer a spectacular golf experience; unfortunately, it comes at a price tag that is equally spectacular. When a week playing golf in Florida can cost as much as a week in Scotland, where do you go for a golf getaway that doesn’t require a second mortgage?

Oglebay Golf Resort in Wheeling, West Virginia, doesn’t just provide an affordable golf vacation option; with its three golf courses, it provides players the chance to experience a condensed history of American golf course design through its three courses. The resort sits on land that was once owned by a wealthy industrialist and is now a part of the city park system. Located about an hour from Pittsburgh, Oglebay draws the majority of its golfers from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. It’s kind of cool that when you drive to Oglebay from the Washington, D.C., you hit all of those states except Ohio, which is just a few minutes away from Wheeling. The area is especially picturesque in the autumn months when the changing colors of the leaves are at their peak.

The property has a rich history in the business and sporting history of West Virginia, but the three golf courses, Crispin, are a special prize that taken together form a primer on the history of golf design in the past 90 years. The 5,670-yard Crispin course is a one-off design by local golf enthusiast Robert Biery that was completed in 1930 and is a fascinating study of design techniques of that era. The slopes and elevation are severe and extreme by today’s standards. A clue was the raised eyebrow of the assistant pro when I said that I would walk the course. Uneven lies are the order of the day, the product of a time when there was neither the money nor equipment readily available to create gentle slopes and even surfaces; the course is true to the original contours of the West Virginia hillside.  There is little relief on the greens, which run a little slower than typical greens but make up for it in size and slope. It is by far the shortest of the three courses but the par-4 8th hole and par-5 9th holes are a thousand yards of joy and pain.

Hole No. 6 at the Klieves course

The Klieves Course is a 6,800-yard, par-71 Arnold Palmer design that was completed in 2000. The design features broad fairways, mildly undulating greens and opportunities for heroics on short par-4’s, all the prototypical characteristics of modern resort golf courses. While some architects choose to torture and torment, Palmer courses put a premium on fun and this one is no exception. The par-5, 515 yard 6th is a great example of the risk/reward available without that challenges the resort golfer without the need to humiliate. The course is very well maintained tee to green, and you’ll want to keep a fully charged battery to take photos of the vistas from the elevated tee boxes.

Hole No. 13 at the Jones course

In my humble opinion, the true gem is the Robert Trent Jones course. The 7,004-yard, par-72 Course carries a healthy 75.1 rating/141 slope from the back tees. It utilizes a gorgeous piece of land that meanders across the West Virginia hills to give a mesmerizing collection of holes that are equal parts scenery and challenge. Both nines start from elevated tee boxes hitting down into valleys that offer classic risk/reward propositions. Usually I have no problem identifying a favorite hole or two, but on this course it’s difficult. Having said that, the stretch of No. 4 (par 3, 193 yards), No. 5 (par-5, 511 yards) and No. 6 (par-4, 420 yards) are among the best I have played anywhere as a show of nature’s beauty and the at of laying out a golf hole. And the four par 3’s are not the place to pic up an easy birdie. The only one less that 190 yards from the tips is the 158-yard 15th, which is protected by a small, undulating green. All in all, it’s a perfect representation of the genius of Robert Trent Jones.

The golf is good at Oglebay and the prices are better. You can get in 18 at the Oglebay courses for as little as $32…on the weekend. And when you’re not playing golf, you can take advantage of the myriad of outdoor sports activities, tour the Oglebay mansion, hit the spa or visit the Glass Museum on the property (I promise it’s a lot more interesting than it sounds). There’s a lot of great new golf resorts out there and that’s a good thing for the golf industry, but destinations like Oglebay prove that there’s a lot of life left in the old classics as well.

Your Reaction?
  • 32
  • LEGIT3
  • WOW2
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK2

Continue Reading

Podcasts

Two Guys Talkin’ Golf: “Are pro golfers actually underpaid?”

Published

on

Equipment expert Brian Knudson and GolfWRX editor Andrew Tursky argue whether PGA Tour players are actually underpaid or not. They also discuss Blades vs. Cavity backs, Jordan Spieth vs. Justin Thomas and John Daly’s ridiculous 142 mph clubhead speed.

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Your Reaction?
  • 3
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP2
  • OB0
  • SHANK20

Continue Reading

Podcasts

Legend Rees Jones speaks on designing Danzante Bay in Mexico

Published

on

Hall-of-Fame golf course architect Rees Jones talks about his newest course design, Danzante Bay at Villa Del Palmar in Mexico. Also, Jeff Herold of TRS Luggage has an exclusive holiday discount offer for GolfWRX listeners!

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Your Reaction?
  • 2
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK8

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending