Hillerich & Bradsby, maker of the Louisville Slugger, has filed suit against the USGA, charging that by not approving the Bionic Glove, the USGA has violated federal antitrust laws.
Hillerich and Bradsby claims that their Bionic Glove, which also has versions for other sports has met USGA guidelines, but that the Association rejected the glove anyway after changing the rules. Retailers which had begin to stock the glove, now apparently are returning them after the glove was rejected in a final appeal.
I’ve been wondering when this was going to happen. It was only a matter of time before some company, angry that its technical innovation was rejected, sued the USGA for restraint of trade. Golf equipment simply isn’t going to get sold without the USGA’s seal of approval. I had thought that it would happen with the Callaway driver controversy, or with some other piece of big time equipment; it seems ironic that the lowly glove is the focus of such a lawsuit.
My guess is that this will never go to court. I don’t think the USGA really wants to test its standing under antitrust laws. If they somehow lose, the genie will be out of the bottle for golf.