AUGUSTA, Ga. — A trio of trees came crashing to the ground at Augusta National Golf Club on Friday during the second round at the 2023 Masters.
Fortunately, no injuries have been reported, as patrons were lucky enough to hear the crack and scatter before the three massive trunks fell to the ground.
But even if a patron were to be injured, the club attempts to absolve itself from any liability, thanks to the small print on the back of the badges all attendees must wear. It’s not dissimilar to wording often on the back of tickets for other events, but the language on the badges makes it clear, Augusta National does not assume liability.
As per the badge:
The 2023 Masters Golf Tournament Credentials Agreement (“Agreement”) is available at Tickets.Masters.com/ Agreement and is incorporated herein by reference as if fully stated. By accepting a badge, ticket or credential (collectively, “Ticket”) to the Masters Golf Tournament or practice rounds (the “Tournament”), the purchaser, holder(s) and user(s) of a Ticket (collectively “Holder”) agree to be bound by each of the terms and conditions on this Ticket, and in the Agreement, whether or not restated herein. In the event of any discrepancy between the terms on this Ticket and those in the Agreement, the Agreement shall control. …
By entering onto the grounds of ANI, Holder agrees to assume all risk and danger arising from attendance, including risks associated with COVID-19. Holder releases and holds harmless ANI, its affiliates, directors, officers, employees, volunteers, agents and all Tournament officials and participants, from any claims of liability, including claims based on their alleged negligence, arising from the Agreement or Holder’s attendance at the Tournament, all as set forth in the Agreement.
So is Augusta National open to damages in the case of a tree falling? That depends. Injured plaintiffs can bring a claim against a golf course based on negligence or product liability, but in this case, a random set of trees falling to the ground in inclement weather likely wouldn’t constitute negligence. The course is known as one of the most immaculate in the world.
If, however, play was to resume after such an incident, and another tree was to fall on a patron, that could change the liability issue.
And that’s not the only blurb patrons in attendance need to understand. Also, electronic devices are famously prohibited.
The Ticket is a limited license, which may be revoked by ANI at any time with or without cause at the discretion of ANI. All ANI and Tournament policies, signs, verbal instructions of Tournament officials, and traditional customs of etiquette, proper attire, decorum and behavior must be observed at all times. Protests of all types are forbidden. Tournament policies are available at Masters.com, may be posted at entrances to the Tournament, and are incorporated herein by reference. …
ELECTRONIC DEVICES (INCLUDING PHONES, LAPTOPS, TABLETS, AND BEEPERS) ARE PROHIBITED ON THE GROUNDS AT ALL TIMES. ANY DEVICE BEING USED TO RECORD AND/OR TRANSMIT VOICE, VIDEO, OR DATA IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. CAMERAS ARE STRICTLY PROHIBITED ON TOURNAMENT DAYS. …
ANI, and such third parties it may authorize, are granted permission to use, without compensation, videotape, film, photographs or other images or likenesses of Holder. G. Images of Augusta National® Golf Club or the Masters Tournament®, or data obtained with cameras, videos, and/or audio devices or other means, cannot be used for broadcast, publication or any commercial purposes under any circumstances.
Those who don’t comply with the rules at the famed golf club are not welcome again.
For security and safety purposes, Holder consents to the reasonable inspection of Holder’s person and property, including electronic scanning, before entering and while on the grounds. Refusal of such an inspection or possession of prohibited items will result in Holder’s exclusion/removal from the grounds and the permanent loss of the Tickets. I. All disputes between any Holder and ANI must be resolved pursuant to the dispute resolution procedure set forth in the Agreement. FAILURE TO OBSERVE ANY OF THE TERMS OF THE AGREEMENT OR ANY TOURNAMENT POLICIES MAY RESULT IN THE HOLDER’S REMOVAL OR EXCLUSION FROM THE TOURNAMENT AND THE PERMANENT LOSS OF TICKETS.
The small type concludes with a quote from Robert Tyre “Bobby” Jones, Jr., the President in Perpetuity at Augusta National Golf Club:
“In golf, customs of etiquette and decorum are just as important as rules governing play. It is appropriate for spectators to applaud successful strokes in proportion to difficulty but excessive demonstrations by a player or his partisans are not proper because of the possible effect upon other competitors. Most distressing to those who love the game of golf is the applauding or cheering of misplays or misfortunes of a player. Such occurrences have been rare at the Masters but we must eliminate them entirely if our patrons are to continue to merit their reputation as the most knowledgeable and considerate in the world.”