Picture this: You step up to a par 3 at a local charity tournament. A brand-new Mercedes-Benz gleams in the sunlight. Hit a hole-in-one by hook, crook or kick off the cart path, and it’s all yours. That’s the deal. So you line up your shot. You take a couple practice swings, a waggle or six and pull the trigger. It feels pure. It sounds pure. It reaches its apex and holds against the wind, fading back towards the hole. You shout some nonsense like “be right!” There’s a faint “thunk” and a hop and then it vanishes. In the immortal words of Bob Barker: YOU JUST WON A NEW CAR!!!
Or so you thought.
This is what happened to Linda Chen at the Fins on the Fairway charity golf tournament earlier this year. Only Chen never got the Mercedes she was promised when she aced the Isleworth Golf & Country Club’s 11th hole back in May and now she’s suing several groups involved with the tournament in hopes to recoup the vehicle or its advertised value of $90,000.
According to Fox News, Chen filed her lawsuit alleging breach of contract on August 23, but it doesn’t appear to be an open-and-shut case. The array of defendants, including the tournament, Mercedes-Benz of South Orlando and the prize’s insurer, Ace Hole in One, didn’t simply fail to provide the vehicle to Chen, they denied her the prize on the grounds that she didn’t disclose her status as a former professional golfer. Chen played professionally between 1994 and 1995 and has been registered as amateur with the USGA for 15 years. Organisers, however, say Chen failed to disclose her stint as a professional player — and allegedly even signed an affidavit swearing she wasn’t a former pro — which would have rendered her ineligible for the prize.
“If you look at Linda Chen’s LinkedIn page, she makes no mention of her amateur status. She made no mention of it AHEAD of the tournament,” Tournament Golf Event owner Timothy Galvin told Fox News. “There were other professional golfers in the event who informed the tournament of their status.”
Chen, meanwhile, claims Galvin was dismissive to her when she tried to claim her prize, telling her she was “never” going to be able to claim the prize before abruptly walking away from her.
Unfortunately Chen’s dream hole-in-one has turned into a nightmare. And while the legitimacy of her suit will be determined by a civil court, if the prize rules did state former professionals were ineligible to enter, she may be up a creek without a paddle. That’s a bad place to be … especially in gator country.