IN THE CIRCUIT
COURT OF DESOTO
GREENSPERFECTION, AND RODNEY LINGLE
(2\/ (JOJ J -
ATLANTA ATHLETIC CLUB; KEN MANGUM; and PGA OF AMERICA
JURY TRIAL REQUESTED COMPLAINT COME NOW Plaintiffs, GreensPerfection, LLC ("GreensPerfection") and Rodney
Lingle, and file this their Complaint against Defendants, and PGA of America, and in support would show: 1.
Atlanta Athletic Club, Ken Mangum,
Greens Perfection, LLC is a Mississippi limited liability company with its principal place of business in Desoto County, Mississippi. II. Plaintiff, Rodney Lingle, is a an adult resident citizen of Desoto County, Mississippi. III. PGA of America is an unincorporated Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, association with its principal place of business in and chapters throughout the United States,
including within the State of Mississippi.
4DG2485 liOODI)() 00000
The Atlanta Athletic Club is a non-profit corporation organized and existing pursuant to the laws of the State of Georgia, with it principal place ofbusiness owns the Highlands Course where the 2011 PGA Championship V. Ken Mangum is an adult resident citizen of Atlanta, Georgia. VI. The Court has jurisdiction of the parties and subject matter. Defendants committed torts in Johns Creek, Georgia. was played. It
in whole or in part within the State of Mississippi. VII. Plaintiff GreensPerfection manufactures a product known as GreensPerfection Brushes
which is a brush attached to mowers used to cut grass on greens, tees, fairways, and approaches to greens on golf courses throughout the United States. Plaintiff Rodney Lingle has the patent to GreensPerfection VIII. On or about September GreensPerfection purchased Brushes 1, 2010, Defendant Atlanta Athletic Club purchased four soft Brushes.
for John Deere 220B walking for greens, tees,
greens mowers and at a later date and approaches from Plaintiff
for use at the Highlands Atlanta Athletic
Course at the Atlanta Athletic brushes
Club in Atlanta, successfully and
Club used GreensPerfection All that time, Defendant
without any problem
since the purchases.
Ken Mangum was the
Director of Golf Courses and Grounds of Atlanta Athletic Club who had a specific understanding of not only how greens, tees, fairways, and approaches to greens were maintained and mowed at
his golf course, but golf courses GreensPerfcction
and he specifically
Brushes were to be attached to and used on mowers. IX.
On or about August Professional Plaintiffs, Golf Association
10, 2011, immediately Championship
prior to the opening round in the 2011 Club, someone unknown to
at Atlanta Athletic
yet under the direction
and control of Defendants
Atlanta Athletic Club and Ken
Mangum, while mowing the 14th and 17th greens damaged those greens by digging into them, rendering them unsuitable for play unless repaired by sodding the damaged areas. X. On or about August 10,2011, Defendant, PGA of America, published a press release of brushes
and concerning Plaintiffs which defamed Plaintiffs by falsely reporting that Plaintiffs' damaged the turf on the 14th and 1ih greens of the Atlanta Golf Association Championship. Athletic
Club course in the
Professional press release.
Attached hereto as Exhibit "A" is a copy of that
XL On or about August 11, 2011, Defendant, Ken Mangum, on behalf of his employer, gave an interview Plaintiffs' brushes
Atlanta Athletic Club, while within the course and scope of his employment, of and concerning Plaintiffs which defamed Plaintiffs by falsely reporting Athletic
damaged the turf on the 14th and 17th greens of the Atlanta Professional Golf Association transcript of that interview. Championship.
Club course in the
Attached hereto as Exhibit "B" is a copy of the
XII. Those manufactured statements contained in Exhibits "A" and "B" concerning the brushes
and owned by Plaintiffs were calculated to he disseminated
all over the world in Golf of
relation to the intense interest of the viewing and reading public in the 2011 Professional Association Mississippi. XIII. Those statements contained in Exhibits "A" and "B" are false and defamatory Championship, including but not limited to audiences within
constitute product disparagement. XIV. The brushes manufactured and owned by Plaintiffs did not damage any part of Atlanta they did not damage the 14th and 17th greens as was directly caused by some other part of act of someone other than damage,
Athletic Club's golf course, and specifically reported by Defendants. Defendant Plaintiffs, Atlanta Athletic
In fact, the damage Club's mowers,
or some negligent
brushes when used properly,
similar to or anything like the damage to the 14th and 1ih greens at Atlanta Athletic Club as the Defendants reported to the world. including audiences in Mississippi. XV. The defamatory statements published and broadcasted by Defendants were made in utter disregard for the truth and were so reckless, that Plaintiffs are entitled to recover punitive
damages against Defendants.
for actual and punitive damages in the amounts determined
to be reasonable by a
jury, with attorneys fees and eosts to Plaintiffs. Respectfully submitted, this the
of August, 2011.
GREENSPERFECTION, LINGLE, Plaintiffs
Watkins Ludlam Winter & Stennis, P.A.
Henry Laird (MSB# 1774) Watkins Ludlam Winter & Stennis, P.A. One Hancock Plaza 2510 - 14TH Street, Suite 1125 Post Office Drawer 160
Gulfport, Mississippi 39502 (228) 864-3094 Facsimile: (228) 864-0516
Gary P. Snyder (MSB# 7682) Watkins Ludlam Winter & Stennis, P.A. 6897 Crumpler Blvd., Suite 100 Post Office Box 1456 Olive Branch, Mississippi 38654 Telephone: (662) 895-2996 Facsimile: (662) 895-5480
The 2011 PGA Championship
Two greens suffer minor damage in mower mishap
Page 1 of2
evening, but the damage was fully repaired and play should not be affected.
evening, PGA Championship officials have announced. They stressed, however, that the and that the incident would not affect play, which is set to begin early
BU The PGA of A,merica JOHNS CREEK, Ga. - Two greens at the Atlanta Athletic Club suffered "minor damage" by mowers Wednesday damage was fully repaired Thursday.
"During this evening's golf course greens maintenance at the Atlanta Athletic Club, there was minor damage caused to the edges of both the 14th and 17th greens," officials said in a statement. "This damage is believed to be the result of a significant rise in the dew point at approximately 7;00 p.m., which caused the brushes on the mowers on those greens to stick in the grass and damage the turf. "The damage has already been fully repaired by the grounds staff at thc Atlanta Athletic Club, led by Ken Mangum, the Director of Golf Courses and Grounds," the statement explained. "This will not affect the opening round ofthe 93rd PGA Championship and we look forward to play in the first round tomorrow in the season's final major, beginning at T30 a.m. ET."
II Inews/greens-081 Oll.cfm
August 11, 2011
An Interview With:
KELLY ELBIN: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for jOining us here at the Atlanta Athletic Club. As you are aware, there were incidents last evening that occurred on both the 14th and 17th greens during golf course greens maintenance here at the Atlanta Athletic Club In preparation for the opening round of the 93rd PGA Championship. We've asked certified golf course superintendent Ken Mangum, who is the director of golf courses and grounds here at the Atlanta Athletic Club, to join us and discuss the situations that occurred last night. Ken? KEN MANGUM: Thank you very much. It's good to be here. Welcome to the Atlanta Athletic Club. It's good to see a lot of friends out there. 'couldn't be more proud of the way the golf course looks. Once I see it on TV, it is a beautiful place. We've worked for the last fIve years, our staff, working with Reas Jones and the architecture end of it, we've got a great staff of people who have worked tirelessly for over five years to get this golf course the way it is today. But J've got to tell you, last night we felt like our hearts had been ripped out. Something occurred that I've never seen before, and I, Ilke you, can only speculate what happened. Nothing mechanical. No operator error. It occurred almost simultaneously to two mowers; and we've checked the mowers, we've checked the people, we've checked everything. They've already mowed the rest of the golf course, 50 it's a little mystery to me why it happened. We went back and looked at the weather because some guys noticed it got really hot and sticky after such a dry day we had and the wind blowing.
So my only -- the only answer I could come up with was that the humidity changed and the brush grabbed and dug into the green and caused the problem. So that's basically all I know about it. I wish -- it would have been a lot easier if I could have found something broken that we could say, that's it. That would have been much easier. But everything is fixed, everything is fine. It will not bother the play of the tournament this week. It's a little bit like cutting yourself with a razor on your wedding day. That's kind of the way we fell. But it'll be fine, and our guys, our team did a great job of repairing it last night, and I've got to tell you, my two people on that golf course, I think I spent as much time consoling them because they've put their heart and soul into this place, and it was tough to watch them suffer. We've taken care of the -- we've taken the brushes off. We cut greens this morning. No issues whatsoever, and 1 think we'll be fine the rest of the week. We are trying to manage the green speed to a good championship speed, and that does require mowing and mowing multiple times sometimes, but we're very proud of the way the golf course is. The greens are really good, a good speed, fairways are great, and the rough is not the place to be.
Q. Can you describe how this brushing works? Is it ahead of the mowers, or is it a separate piece of machinery?
KEN MANGUM: It's a rotating brush in the front of the mower. For this type grass, brushes and groomers are Iypically used to keep the grass standing upright. It's a part of our routine we do every week, practically every day we mow. So it's not something we just did for this event. Q. Ken Casey was saying pretty much you Jumped on it quickly yesterday. It took maybe an hour or so. Can you kind of take us
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through as soon as you found out and actually how long it did take and some of the things that went on as far as getting things taken care of? KEN MANGUM: We just scrambled, got the sod, brought it out, replaced it. Realty qu lck and simple.
Q. Obviously that happened yesterday, but all week players have just been raving about the course. How overwhelming has that been for you to hear everything you've heard because they've said some things that I hadn't heard In pressrooms In a long time about the golf course. KEN MANGUM: I'm really overwhelmed. and I'm really so proud for the membership, because the membership has spent a lot of money, a lot of time for these renovalions. And to sea the efforts of all these years commended like this is just -. Justcouldn't make us happier. I'm so appreciative of that and really feel good for the club because of that. Q. With this new way that you're cutting the green now, you're cutting all the greens now without the brushes; Is that correct? KEN MANGUM: Yeah.
Q. Does that fundamentally change anything about the greens, the way they roll? KEN MANGUM: No, I don't think it will. We're still maintainingthe same speed we had.
bermudagrass. zoysia does good in the south. I started to say bentgrass does good up north, but this has been one of those years that that's probably not necessarily true. And the bottom line, Mother Nature can slap us around any time she gets ready. Everything we do can be wiped out in one summer, one winter. I think that's one of the hardest parts of the job that I've had to get used 10 is you can do everything possible and then Ihe weather can take it all away.
Q. Today they're going to play those two areas on 14 and 17 as ground under repair. Do you foresee that they'll do that for the rest of the week, as well? KEN MANGUM: I would think so. I think that's the best way to make it not a play Issue, KELLY ELBIN: We have a statement from the PGA Rules Committee in regards to that and I'd be happy to read it. The areas of repaired turf on the 14th and 17th putting greens will, for the remainder of the championship, be played as ground under repair. That's under rule 25·1. This will entitle a player free relief from those areas, including intervention on his line of putt when his ball is on the putting green. In addition, when a player'Sball is an or off the putting green, the player may repair these areas under Ihe existing local rule for turf plugs, and we will make this ruling available to media as soon as the press conference ends. Q. I understand you' v e got ,like 40 volunteers here and 30 or maybe more are past people who have worked for you in the past here. Can you comment on that, and tell us how much experience there is here that knows this Highlands Course Inside out? KEN MANGUM: We would probably have to get a calculator 10 add aUthat up. Bull'm very .I'm so honored that every superintendent assistant I've ever had on the Highlands Course came back to work this week. I got a few tears in my eyes with that one because that's really heart warming to knows that the guys you worked with 20 years ago, 15 years ago all came back, to watch them bond together like they did then because they've got a lot of sweat equity in the place, and they're really proud of it. It's where they started their career. KELLY ELBIN; Approximately how many
Could I digress slightly from the problems you've had. You've done amazing things here, The course looks absolutely stunning. I'm from a different climate obviously than you have here. Are there lessons to be learned? Could European green keepers, for instance, learn lessons from what you're doing here in terms of agronomy? KEN MANGUM: Welt, I think every part of the world has different climates that different things work in. I told somebody earlier, if you picked any oranges in Atlanta? WeH, probably not because this is not a climate that they grow. So you have to taka each specific site and see what will work. I'm actually doing a seminar in Italy in September talking about some of the grasses. You just have to look each place and see if it will work. One size doesn't fit all. I mean, obviously the fescue works in England, Scotland, Ireland. Poa does great on the West Coast;
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people would that be? KEN MANGUM: 40 volunteers we have.
That's probably 35 of the
KEN MANGUM: The way the turf was torn up, the quickest way to repair it was just to replace the sod. That was the fastest way to do it. Q. It was torn up enough that you never have played on that green the way
Q. You and I have talked about what a science it is that you guys do. If this is a mystery, what's the first step? Are you going to call some of your compatriots and ask them if this has ever happened to them, and how are we going to learn from this going forward? KEN MANGUM: You ask good questions, Ron. Good interview, though, the olher day. I haven't seen it but I got a lot of good reports on it. This is the first major championship this grass has been used in, so there's not too many places I can go for information, but we have studied the grass for the last couple years since we've had it. I still think it was a weather, environmental issue, because we've just never had that happen before in the course of normal mowing and everything that we do. When you have major championships, you're pretty close to the edge on a lot of things, and it seems like if anything is going to happen, that's when it does, unfortunately. But I think we've got everything set now so it will not be an Issue the rest of the week.
Q. How much turf was replaced? How do you measure that? KEN MANGUM: We didn't really measure it. II started on the right-hand side of the mower, so it was probably this much (indicating approximately two feet).
it was? KEN MANGUM: No, you could have, but it would have been a lot -- you would have had to put a lot of sand in it, so we just felt like the quickest, easiest, besl thing for the event was to take some sod off one of our nurseries and put it in there. KELLY ELBIN: Mr. Mangum, thank you very much. FastScr;pts by ASAP Sports
probably three feet off the green; the one on 17 was about the same distance, was on the right-hand side. And the thing about II, on 14, he had already made several passes. It wasn't like it was the first pass on the green. It really had us puzzled. Q. The areas that were damaged, were they damaged to the extent •• we didn't see the damage, obviously, because you took It out so quickly. But to the extent that they were damaged, would you have been able to putt over them at all or were they discolored, or what exactly was wrong with them?
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Q. How close to the edge of the greens on 14 and 171 KEN MANGUM: The one on 14 was
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