The green jacket is among Augusta National's most sacred artifacts. It doesn't take a golf insider to realize or understand that. So it's not surprising that Augusta National has filed a restraining order to prevent the auction of 1959 Masters winner
The Dallas Morning News had the story, and I'll let them take it from here:
Oak Lawn-based Heritage Auctions had hoped to auction Art Wall Jr.'s jacket, won in 1959, in February. But Augusta filed a temporary restraining order last month, claiming it was stolen. Its current owner, Florida doctor Stephen Pyles, says there is no proof of that, and disputes Augusta's claims that the jackets are meant to stay there.
The jacket, along with three others, was allegedly stolen by a couple of employees who have since been fired.
Jim James, Augusta National's senior director of club and hospitality operation, explains what happened to the jacket:
James said that in June, he discovered four green jackets had gone missing from Augusta — those belonging to Fuzzy Zoeller, Gay Brewer, George Archer and Wall. He said the jackets were taken from the premises by employees, who then sold the jackets to an auctioneer in Florida. All but one were returned to Augusta — Wall's, which Pyles said he bought at auction last April for $61,452.55.
To get the jacket back, Augusta National will apparently have to prove it still belongs to them:
The judge ordered Heritage to keep the jacket while its ownership can be sorted out. That will be done at a trial at a later date, during which Augusta will have to prove ownership.
The disagreement continued:
Mark Senter, Heritage's attorney who was also representing Pyles at this morning hearing, argued that Augusta never made clear they had possession of the green jackets — Wall's or anyone else's.
“The only clear evidence was the letter given to 2012 Masters winner Bubba Watson, which stated that he could not take the jacket with him,” Senter said. “But that is the first of its kind.”
James said that the tradition of leaving the jackets at Augusta has always been verbally agreed to, and that players know they're supposed to leave them there.
Fighting Augusta National for one of its green jackets doesn't seem worth it to me. Honestly, though, I'm just glad I'm not one of the employees who stole them.