Judge halts sale of auctioned green jacket in wake of lawsuit

If you haven’t heard already, Augusta National Golf Club is suing Green Jacket Auctions, a company that sells authentic golf memorabilia. The company currently has 3 green jackets up for bid, which would have ended on Saturday.

It was unclear whether or not the sale of the jackets would go through, considering the undergoing lawsuit, but we got the answer to that question. The judge ruling the case halted the sale of the Masters green jackets and other items including silverware and a belt buckle bearing Augusta National’s map and flag logo.

Source: Green Jacket Auctions

U.S. District Chief Judge J. Randal Hall said the club’s policy concerning the jackets weighs in its favor and that there were sales of jackets in the past does not mean Augusta National has issued a waiver of ownership.

The club’s ruling states that only the Masters champion of that year is allowed to remove the green jacket from Augusta National’s premises and is to be returned the year after. All other jackets, including past champions and members, must leave their jackets in the lockers or storage on site.

This is how Sergio Garcia was allowed to wear his Masters jacket to his wedding, but come next April, he’ll have to leave it behind (unless he wins again).

The one issued in 1966 to Bryon Nelson (which was the main jacket being auctioned) was in storage at Augusta National during a physical inventory in 2009, but a recent check determined that it is now missing, the lawsuit says. It is unclear how the jacket and other items ended up on the auction block.

The sale also included a member green jacket assigned to club member John R. Butler, Jr., who has said he has never removed his jacket from the golf club and never agreed to have it sold by Green Jacket Auctions. The third jacket was assigned to George King, who was briefly a member of Augusta National Golf Club, the lawsuit says.

This means that any of the past and current jackets sold were either stolen or replicas aka not genuine green jackets. These accusations go against the Florida based auctioning company’s promise to its buyer.

“My client does not deal in stolen goods,” said Gail Podolsky, who represents Green Jacket Auctions founders Bob Zafian and Ryan Carey. “That’s not his business model. He lives and breathes on the success of the last auction and his reputation.”

The lawsuit asks to order Green Jacket Auctions not to use Augusta National trademarks and not to deceptively or unfairly compete with Augusta National.