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Insurance – Two holes-in-one are unlucky for PGA tournament host

By: South Carolina Lawyers Weekly staff//February 20, 2020//

Insurance – Two holes-in-one are unlucky for PGA tournament host

By: South Carolina Lawyers Weekly staff//February 20, 2020//

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Where the sponsor of a PGA tournament accepted the terms of a policy that insured payouts for a hole-in-one at least 170 yards in distance, its claims that the insurer breached duties by failing to obtain a policy covering holes-in-one from 137 yards was rejected.


In July 2015, Old White Charities Inc. hosted and sponsored the annual Greenbrier Classic golf tournament. During the tournament, Old White ran a promotional contest wherein, if a golfer shot a hole-in-one on the 18th hole, all spectators present in the grandstands at that hole would receive a cash prize. Old White engaged Bankers Insurance LLC to secure an insurance policy indemnifying Old White against any payout made pursuant to the contest.

The application for the insurance policy, which Bankers completed on Old White’s behalf, contained a warranty clause stating that the hole had to be at least 150 yards in distance for any hole-in-one to be covered by the policy. Bankers also included an addendum to the application stating that the 18th hole played an average of 175 yards, but that Old White had no knowledge of or control over the length of the hole on any given day of the tournament because the PGA determined the placement of the tee boxes and the pins. A representative of Old White read and signed the application, and the policy ultimately contained a provision stating that, for a hole-in-one to be covered, the hole had to be at least 170 yards long.

During the tournament, two golfers shot holes-in-one on the 18th hole from a distance of 137 yards. The insurer filed suit in district court seeking a declaratory judgment that Old White was not entitled to coverage because the holes-in-one did not comply with the distance requirement. The district court entered a declaratory judgment in favor of the insurer. We affirmed the district court’s judgment.

Old White has now asserted state law claims of negligence, reasonable expectations and fraud against Bankers and challenges on appeal the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Bankers on each of these claims.


We have reviewed the record and conclude that the district court correctly determined that Old White failed to establish the elements of duty and proximate causation. The district court therefore properly granted summary judgment in favor of Bankers on Old White’s negligence claim.

With respect to Old White’s claim for damages under the doctrine of reasonable expectation, we agree with the district court that the distance warranty in the application was clear and unambiguous, and that the addendum did not contradict or otherwise negate the distance warranty. We also agree with the district court that Old White failed to establish a claim for fraud or misrepresentation against Bankers.

Finally, Old White challenges the district court’s denial of its motion to submit supplemental briefing on the summary judgment motions to account for new deposition testimony by Bankers’ representatives that contradicted their testimonies in previous depositions. We have reviewed the record and conclude that the new testimony does not give rise to any disputes of material fact. The district court therefore did not err in denying Old White leave to file supplemental briefs.


Old White Charities Inc. v. Bankers Insurance LLC (Per curiam) Case No. 18-1914. Jan. 21, 2020. From S.D. W.Va. at Beckley (Irene C. Berger, J.) Richard A. Getty for Appellant, Stuart A. McMillan, Fazal A. Shere and Patrick C. Timony for Appellee. 6 pp.


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