[Editor's note: Below is an original report from the Associated Press, via the Augusta Chronicle. Beneath that is an update from GOLF.com, with comment from Green Jacket Auctions, the defendant in the case. Augusta National has declined to comment.]
AUGUSTA, Ga. — A federal judge says Augusta National Golf Club will hold three green jackets and other Masters memorabilia while a lawsuit over an online auction plays out.
The Augusta Chronicle reports that U.S. District Court Chief Judge J. Randal Hall on Friday granted the club's request to hold the items. A lawsuit filed by Augusta National Inc., which owns the club and tournament, asks a judge to stop Florida-based Green Jacket Auctions Inc. from selling the famed green jackets in an online auction.
The club contends the items are either stolen or fakes prohibited by the club's trademark. An attorney for Green Jacket Auction says the company acquired the items from third-party owners.
UPDATE: Green Jacket Auctions disputed certain facts of this report, particularly that Augusta National would hold possession of the three jackets. "Augusta National apparently worked out a deal to purchase or otherwise acquire one of the green jackets in the litigation," said Ryan Carey, a spokesperson for Green Jacket Auctions. "We've been instructed to return another to its Japanese owner. The Byron Nelson green jacket remains in possession of our original consignor, who vehemently disputes Augusta National's claim of ownership of a jacket they haven't seen in over 50 years.
"Augusta National likes to claim things are 'stolen' when what they really mean is they believe Augusta National owns every green Jacket ever produced regardless of who currently owns or possesses the jackets."