Brushmaker sues PGA and Atlanta Athletic Club
Monday, September 5, 2011
When Atlanta Athletic Club’s maintenance staff scrambled to repair two damaged greens in the hours before the PGA Championship, everyone associated with the year’s final major breathed a sigh of relief.
Two ugly spots on the 14th and 17th greens at the Highlands Course, damaged during routine maintenance before the first round of the PGA, were resodded, and play got under way Aug. 11 as scheduled.
Ken Mangum, the AAC’s director of golf courses and grounds, told assembled media that he didn’t know what happened but that he had ruled out a mechanical or operator error. He speculated that a sudden rise in the dew point caused the brushes on the mowers to stick in the grass.
“The only answer I could come up with,” Mangum said, “was that the humidity changed and the brush grabbed and dug into the green and caused the problem.”
GreensPerfection didn’t like that explanation. The Olive Branch, Miss., company manufactures GreensPerfection Brushes, a mower attachment used by AAC’s crew. The company and patent-holder Rodney Lingle, who also is the superintendent at Memphis (Tenn.) Country Club, filed a lawsuit Aug. 31 in DeSoto County Circuit Court in Hernando, Miss., claiming false and defamatory statements. The PGA of America, Atlanta Athletic Club and Ken Mangum are listed as defendants.
The suit seeks unspecified actual and punitive damages and a trial by jury.
Joe Steranka, the PGA's chief executive officer, would not comment when contacted by Golfweek.
“I’m disappointed to hear of this suit,” Mangum told Golfweek. “The brushes have been an integral part of our turf-management program all summer, and they continue to be.”
- Bradley S. Klein contributed