Lawsuit seeks to stop auction of green jackets

By Associated PressAugust 14, 2017, 8:15 pm

Updated, Aug. 17 at 3:45 p.m. ET

A U.S. District Chief Judge granted a request Thursday to temporarily prevent the sale of three Augusta National Golf Club green jackets, the Augusta Chronicle reports.

Original story:

ATLANTA – The Georgia company that owns Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters on Monday asked a judge to stop a golf memorabilia company from auctioning off a Masters champion's green jacket and other items it says were never supposed to have left the club's grounds.

Augusta National Inc. filed the federal lawsuit against Florida-based Green Jacket Auctions Inc. seeking to stop the company from selling a champion's green jacket and two member green jackets, as well as silverware and a belt buckle bearing Augusta National's map and flag logo.

The champion's green jacket is awarded each year to the winner of the Masters tournament, ''and is, probably, the most coveted award in the golfing world,'' the lawsuit says.

The jacket may not be removed from the Augusta National grounds except during the first year after it is presented, according to the lawsuit. After that first year, the jacket must be stored on Augusta National premises and can only be used on the grounds and during the annual tournament. Augusta National said it owns the jackets, and the champions have ''possessory rights'' when they're on Augusta National grounds.

The same rules apply to the member green jackets, except they may never leave Augusta National grounds, the lawsuit says. Each jacket is marked for identification and authenticity.

''It appears that Augusta National Golf Club is attempting to assert ownership claims to every green jacket ever produced, regardless of who currently owns or possesses the jackets,'' Green Jacket Auctions co-owner Ryan Carey said in an email. ''Obviously we at Green Jacket Auctions dispute such claims, and will litigate the matter, if necessary.''

The lawsuit says Augusta National recently learned Green Jacket Auctions was advertising a sale that includes the champion's green jacket produced for two-time champion Byron Nelson in 1966. The jacket was where it was supposed to be, 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.

By mid-afternoon Monday, the online bidding on the jacket, which closes at 8 p.m. Saturday, had reached $114,874.

The online sale also includes a member green jacket assigned to club member John R. Butler Jr. According to the lawsuit, Butler has said he has never removed his jacket from the golf club and never agreed to have it sold by Green Jacket Auctions.

Another member green jacket that was assigned to George King, who was briefly a member of Augusta National Golf Club, is also part of the sale, the lawsuit says.

Green Jacket Auctions is in ''wrongful possession'' of all three jackets and does not hold the legal title to any of them, the lawsuit says.

Additionally, the online sale includes silverware stamped with the trademarked Augusta National map and flag logo. Augusta National does not sell or give away the proprietary silverware, so the only way someone could get it is to steal it from the golf club, meaning the silverware listed in the sale is either stolen or counterfeit, the lawsuit says.

Green Jacket Auctions is also selling a belt buckle with the trademarked map and flag logo, an item that was never approved by, licensed by or developed on behalf of Augusta National, the lawsuit says.

Green Jacket Auctions' ''marketing efforts are clearly intended to draw upon the valuable reference to the Augusta National Golf Club and the extensive secondary meaning associated with (Augusta National Inc.'s) Marks, and ability of consumers searching those trademark names to land on the offending website,'' the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit asks a judge to order Green Jacket Auctions not to use Augusta National trademarks and not to deceptively or unfairly compete with Augusta National. It also asks that the jackets and silverware be returned to Augusta National and the belt buckle destroyed. Augusta National also asks for damages and legal fees.

Green Jacket Auctions' website says the company has previously auctioned off three green jackets that had been given to champions. It sold a coat belonging to Horton Smith, the first winner of the Masters, for about $682,000 in 2013.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.