Paddy Power sign prompts legal action
NEWPORT, Wales – Sometime before dawn Tuesday, the word PADDY rose from the hillside about 500 yards from the Celtic Manor Twenty Ten course, site of this week’s 2010 Ryder Cup.
While some mistook the sign as support for Padraig Harrington as they arrived in the morning, the reality was that it was an advertisement for Paddypower.com, an Irish betting site.
The European Tour took a dim view of the sign, but it was Monmouthshire County Council that sought an injunction to force removal. By 7 p.m. Tuesday, Paddy Power, communications director of the eponymous gambling site, was summoned to appear in a Cardiff County Court (Cardiff Civil Justice Centre) about the sign.
“The sign was erected as support for the European side as well as a call to arms for bettors to use their service versus any others,” Paddy Power said after his flight arrived early Wednesday in Cardiff for the court appearance. “It’s just a harmless bit of fun.”
Paddypower.com made a name for itself last year when it paid off on Tiger Woods’ winning the PGA Championship at Hazeltine after the third round, explaining that Woods has never relinquished a third-round lead in his career in a major. After Y.E. Yang won, the Irish betting service had a bit of egg on its face.
Power erected a similar sign in March on Cleeve Hill in England to coincide with the Cheltenham Festival horse race.
At 250 feet long and 50 feet high, the Paddy Power sign is almost as large as the famous “Hollywood’’ sign, which is 45 feet tall and 350 feet wide, located in the Hollywood Hills overlooking Los Angeles.
But at only 500 yards away, the sign is an imposing sight and one not appreciated by all.
“It’s disgusting,’’ said Terry Matthews, who owns Celtic Manor. “It degrades the event. They should shut the whole thing down. I think it’s disgraceful.”
Matthews’ wish came true just after noon when the court ruled against Paddypower.com.
“Unfortunately we have to take the sign down by noon tomorrow (Thursday),” a disheartened Powers said by phone after the hearing. “Bit disappointed, to be honest. We feel a little bruised and battered by the establishment.”