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Judge: Augusta National gets to keep contested green jackets during lawsuit



Is there an entity in the world of sports more single-mindedly committed to the protection of its brand than Augusta National Golf Club?

ANGC, if you’ll recall, filed a federal lawsuit in August to halt Green Jacket Auctions (you know that name rankles the club to no end) from auctioning a trio of green jackets. One of the famed garments purportedly belonged to Byron Nelson, one to a current member, and one to a former member of the iconic club.

Now, per a report from The Augusta Chronicle, the jackets are back in the club’s possession until the case is resolved

U.S. District Court Chief Judge J. Randal Hall signed an order Friday saying in part

“…The parties shall not construe the release and transfer of these items as anything other than an alteration of its previous preservation order. The court has not yet made any determinations regarding the disputed issues in this case.”

In August, Augusta maintained the items were either stolen or fakes. The club says it has never sold green jackets at any point in its history, and members are likewise prohibited from doing so.

Not surprisingly, Green Jacket Auctions doesn’t see things the same way, indicating it obtained the jackets legally through third parties who themselves rightfully owned the garments.

Ryan Carey, co-founder of Green Jacket Auctions, told Golf Digest.

“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.”

The famed green garments are only worn by members during the Masters, and only the reigning Masters champion is permitted to take his jacket from the premises.

Judge Hall granted a temporary injunction in August, which stopped the auction pending the determination of ownership.

Should members own their jackets? Or should ANGC effectively rent them out to the membership but retain ownership?

It’s difficult to make the case that the most famous garments in sports appearing on the auction block builds the Masters brand in a positive way. Indeed, for the club, and for many Masters fans, the green jackets are akin to holy relics housed in the sanctuary of the club. For many, this may seem extreme, but it’s all part of the dense web of Masters mythology.

From an ownership standpoint, based on this latest development, it’s also difficult to think the court ANGC won’t determine to be the rightful owner of genuine green jackets.

In other words, the days of green jacket auctions at Green Jacket Auctions may be over.

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  1. Fitz

    Jan 13, 2018 at 1:01 am

    Augusta…. where the balls are white and the caddies aren’t …. 😮

  2. St. Donald

    Jan 12, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    …. but it’s TRUE!!

  3. x-out

    Jan 12, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    The ultimate golf nerd delusional fantasy….. owning and wearing a Green Jacket…. better than any WITB toy collection.

  4. Riley

    Jan 11, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    If you visit Oak Hill CC in Rochester, NY you may notice Claude Harmon’s jacket is hung on the wall in the clubhouse. It’s more that they don’t want it sold on the open market than anything else.

    • St. Donald

      Jan 13, 2018 at 12:34 pm

      Augusta is a sh••hole golf course compared to any of mine!

  5. Andrew West

    Jan 11, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Do the Members pay for the jackets ? If yes, then they can do whatever they want with them !

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19th Hole

Instagram Investigations: Impact Golf and Kyoei KK wedges #GolfWRX



Impact Golf posted a shot of a beautiful soon-to-be-released Kyoei KK wedge. Not having a clue what Impact Golf was, I did a little research. It turns out, Impact Golf is a golf facility in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The lead is kind of buried on this post, because Impact Golf Driving Range is the only aquatic driving range in Malaysia. Really. Check it out.

Members can get 100 range balls for about $3 US. The two-piece balls feature a low density center, so they float. Guess the range must sent out a boat with a cage on it to “pick” the balls?

Retail, club fitting, aquatic driving range, it looks like Impact Golf does it all. We salute you! Anyway, back to the post, here it is.

Kyoei Golf was founded by Tamaki Sakamoto, who got his start hauling trees by horse before hanging a shingle in the clubmaking business. He started Kyoei Golf Equipment Manufacturing with his brother-in-law.

The company describes its manufacturing evolution.

“Initially we used Stainless Steel. We polished stainless steel to finish our heads. Since Stainless Steel does not rust, we did not plate our heads. However, when we first saw a head made in America, we were shocked at how beautiful a finish they had. American made heads were made of Soft Carbon Steel and had plated finish. Since then, Kyoei also started to forge their heads in house and later invested in plating equipment. All of this was because of Tamaki’s goal of “Manufacturing the best head in Japan” He strongly believed that in order to produce good heads they needed to do their own forging and not just grinding. To produce good heads, they needed to do their own plating. Kyoei is still the only company in Japan with full forging to plating process capabilities.”

And how about this hustle?

“Tamaki took a few of his heads wrapped up in a “Furoshiki” wrapper (Traditional Japanese wrapping cloth) and showed them at the PGA show. “What do you think?” Even if he could not speak the language, they can see the quality in his products. This is how he gradually made Kyoei forged irons known in the U.S.”

Details on the upcoming Kyoei KK wedges are scarce, but one thing’s for sure: They’re darn good looking.

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19th Hole

Rory McIlroy on fan behavior: “It’s golf…there’s decorum, there’s etiquette.”



Last week, Rory McIlroy suggested the PGA Tour should curtail alcohol sales at tournaments. Now, he’s expanding on his thoughts in the wake of Commissioner Jay Monahan’s statements on the matter.

To refresh, regarding spectator imbibing, the 28-year-old said

“They [the PGA Tour] need to limit the alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something because every week it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.”

Commissioner Jay Monahan, however, isn’t keen to dam the river of booze. In Monahan’s mind, golf is in a period of adjustment to new fans and is facing issues common in the world of sports.

McIlroy, speaking at the WGC-Dell Match Play appeared to walk back his remarks before disagreeing with the commish’s characterization of professional golf.

“I made my comments last week on St. Patrick’s Day when everyone was just a few too many deep. I don’t know, I’m all for people coming out here, having a good time. I don’t know. It depends.

“I think what happened to Justin Thomas at the Honda, that went over the line. I think that was too much. Because that’s not — it’s golf at the end of the day. It’s not football. There’s decorum, there’s etiquette, there’s a lot of that that goes on in golf. Not that it doesn’t go on in football, when you are on the field you can’t hear all that stuff. We’re a little thin rope that divides the fans from us, you can still hear what they are saying.”

Let’s drill down. McIlroy reaffirms his belief that what happened to Justin Thomas at the Honda Classic crossed a line. To refresh, Thomas was followed by a heckler who repeatedly jeered him and yelled for his ball to land in a bunker. Thomas had the man ejected.

Second, McIlroy points out that golfers and golf fans are held to a higher/different standard than players and fans in other sports. As we continue to wade through this debate, much rests on the idea that “it’s golf, not football.”

Proponents of increased sanctions and security measures will agree. Opponents, likely, will see this attitude as part of the problem plaguing the game.

Finally, McIlroy points at that, unlike football, basketball, baseball, etc, golf fans stand mere feet away from players in a largely silent environment, separated only by a rope and often without any formal security presence in the vicinity. Even those who are unconcerned by recent heckling incidents have to concede McIlroy’s point on the fundamental difference in atmosphere.

To this, we might add that the execution of a golf shot is more similar to drawing the bow back and shooting in archery than it is to drawing the ball back and throwing it on a football field.

What do you think about McIlroy’s remarks, GolfWRX members?


(h/t Geoff Shackelford for the McIlroy quote)

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19th Hole

Billy Horschel expresses concern about the current player-fan relationship on Tour



Billy Horschel is never shy about giving his opinion.

Appearing on the Playing Through Podcast earlier this week, Horschel commented on the trend of heckling on the PGA Tour. Horschel said if a fan insulted him personally, he might not be able to take the high road.

“I told the Tour, listen, if someone says something personal to me about my family that crosses the line, we’re gonna have an incident on our hands. Then you guys may take it seriously. I said, we’re one incident away from a player going into the crowd a little bit and handling a situation that has crossed the line.”

Going into the crowd a little bit? Just a little bit, not full Ron Artest, but a little bit.

All joking aside, what do you think about Billy Horschel’s remarks? The PGA Tour, which prides itself on the sportsmanship and character of its players, would have a real mess on its hands should a player go outside the ropes for a confrontation.

And who’s going to deal with that situation if it arises? This guy?

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