Jim Justice was just giving money away to fans at the 18th hole during July’s Greenbrier Classic.
In what is now a tournament tradition, the resort owner walks through the stands and gives away crisp $100 bills to fans who are present at the Old White TPC’s par-3 finishing hole when a player in the field makes a hole-in-one. George McNeill got the cash dispenser going with a Thursday ace. A day later, Justin Thomas made the second ace of the week at the 18th hole, leading Justice to give away $500 to each witness fan in the stands.
Altogether, the aces cost Justice $192,400 — $18,900 for the first ace and $173,500 for the second — in giveaways to the fans. The tournament also made a charitable donation in the value of $25,000 in McNeill’s name and one in Thomas’ name worth $50,000.
However, Justice is no idiot. He had an insurance policy in place so that the tournament’s operating nonprofit, Old White Charities, wouldn’t take a $267,400 hit. Or so he thought.
The tournament’s insurance underwriters sued Old White Charities in U.S. District Court on Aug. 19, claiming that the aces happened closer to the hole than the distance floor set in the tournament’s policy. The insurance company claims that, for them to pay back to the tournament, the aces had to happen at a minimum distance of 170 yards. Both aces were shots of less than 140 yards.
On top of that, the insurer claims the nonprofit didn’t make a premium payment of $106,470 by a July 1 deadline.
We don’t get the sense that this potential setback would stop the free flow of cash.