ATLANTA — One of the most distinctive symbols in sports, the iconic green jacket awarded to the winner of the Masters golf tournament, is at the center of a lawsuit over whether one of them can be sold at auction.
Dr. Steven Pyles, a Tampa, Florida collector of golf memorabilia, bought a green jacket he believes was worn by Art Wall, Jr. when he won the tournament in 1959. After paying $62,000 for it, he wants to sell it through Heritage Auctions of Dallas for a profit.
Five days before the auction was scheduled to begin, Augusta National Incorporated moved to halt the sale. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Monday in Dallas.
The collector told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the jackets and any memorabilia from the premier tournament are in high demand and sell for thousands of dollars. He contends that winner's jackets are available for sale. A green jacket belonging to the famed Bobby Jones sold at auction in 2011 for $311,000.
Augusta National Incorporated claims in its lawsuit that all green jackets are the property of Augusta National and that this particular jacket was stolen from its clubhouse.
Mark Senter, the attorney for Pyles and Heritage Auctions says there is no police report to back up a claim of theft.