Bill Murray’s golf brand has a choice reply for Doobie Brothers’ hilarious complaint

Bill Murray in a 2009 photo.
(Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images)

In 2020, what the people need is a way to make them smile.

Bill Murray’s golf brand and the Doobie Brothers may have done just that.

On Wednesday, the Doobie Brothers sent Murray a humorously worded letter complaining that William Murray Golf was using the band’s music without financial compensation.

On Friday, the firm representing Murray’s golf company, Yoffe & Cooper, fired back with some equally witty retorts.


Lawyer Peter T. Paterno first called out the Emmy-winning actor for using the Doobie song “Listen to the Music” in ads without proper payment.

“It’s a fine song,” Paterno wrote. “I know you agree because you keep using it in ads for your Zero Hucks Given golf shirts. However, given that you haven’t paid to use it, maybe you should change the company name to ‘Zero Bucks Given.’”

The shirt in question is described online as a “wink and a nod” to a hero of Murray’s, author Mark Twain, and his Huckleberry Finn character.

“It seems like the only person who uses our clients’ music without permission more than you do is Donald Trump,” Paterno wrote, alluding to Trump’s repeated use of artists’ music without their consent.


“This is the part where I’m supposed to cite the United States Copyright Act, excoriate you for not complying with some subparagraph that I’m too lazy to look up and threaten you with eternal damnation for doing so,” Paterno wrote. “But you already earned that with those Garfield movies.”

(Murray did voice the cartoon cat in both “Garfield: The Movie” and “Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties.” Apparently, that was a tale of miscommunication he now regrets.)

The Doobies’ lawyer fired off one more comedic shot — this one a jab at Murray’s iconic “Caddyshack” role — before signing off.

“We’d almost be OK with it if the shirts weren’t so … ugly,” Paterno wrote. “But it is what it is. So in the immortal words of Jean Paul Sartre, ‘Au revoir Golfer. Et payez!’”

Murray’s lawyer wrote back, “First, I would like to compliment you on finding levity in the law at a time when the world and this country certainly could use a laugh. Your client’s demand was able to cut through the noise of the news cycle and remind us how much we all miss live music these days.”


(The band’s most recent show at the end of August was rescheduled for August 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. )

The lawyer representing Murray’s company, Alexander Yoffe, went on to tip his client’s hat to some of the band’s other music.

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones play a father-daughter duo in Sofia Coppola’s New York-set comedy, which will be available on Apple+ in October.

Sept. 22, 2020

“We would also like to confirm that both our firm, and the good folks at William Murray Golf, are indeed fans of the Doobie Brothers’ music,” Yoffe wrote. “Which is why we appreciate your firm’s choice of ‘Takin’ It to the Streets,’ rather than to the courts, which are already overburdened ‘Minute by Minute’ with real problems.”

Before sending the Doobie Brothers’ firm off with some amicable parting words, Yoffe & Cooper, LLP did ask for the band members’ shirt sizes and offered to upgrade their wardrobes.

“In the immortal words of Mr. Murray — the more relaxed you are, the better you are at everything,” Yoffe wrote. “So let’s pour one up and unwind with a listen of the recently released ‘Quadio’ box set and plan to cross paths at a Doobie Brothers’ 50th anniversary show in 2021 when some level of normalcy resumes.”