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Golf News: - Posted 19th July 1998

Nick Price accused in lawsuit of abandoning club company

Associated Press

New York - A Manhattan lawyer says golfer Nick Price, one of the leaders after two rounds of the Open Championship, knocked a fledgling club company out of bounds by taking his name, fame and $2.5 million salary and walking out on a commitment as pitchman.

A complaint, seeking unspecified damages, was filed in Manhattan State Supreme Court on today on behalf of five shareholders of Atrigon Golf Inc. It alleges that Price used his celebrity to lure investors to Atrigon, promised a long-term commitment to work with the Camarillo, Calif., company and collected his $2.25 million annual salary plus other pay before bolting for greener greens.

Atrigon, formed in 1993, hired Price in 1995 to promote its anticipated first product, the BlackHawk golf club, said shareholders lawyer William Brewer. Atrigon officials claimed the club, with a one-piece shaft and head, would have launched balls straighter and farther than other clubs, which generally have separate shafts and heads, he said.

"Price left the company high and dry to collect bigger endorsement fees from a competing golf club manufacturer,'' Brewer said. "Shareholders were left holding an empty bag.''

Price endorsed Atrigon from March 1995 to April 1996, when his contract expired, said David Abell, Price's business manager and head of the Nick Price Group in Jupiter, Fla. Price joined Goldwin Golf in January 1997, he said.

"While Atrigon was an unfortunate experience for everyone involved, the facts are that no claim exists against Nick Price,'' Abell said. "It's baseless.''

The complaint names, in addition to Price, several Atrigon executives. It accuses them of lying about ownership of the patent on a one-piece club that the company hadn't even developed yet.

"Atrigon directors sold their investors down the river,'' Brewer said.