Masters Traditions: Green Jackets
The green jacket is the ultimate symbol of success at the Masters Tournament.
A golfer wearing the single-breasted, single-vent garment has achieved something special: a victory at Augusta National Golf Club.
Augusta National members began wearing the jackets in 1937. The idea was to have them be easily identifiable so they could answer questions from patrons.
Brooks Uniform Co. in New York made the original jackets, which featured heavy wool material.
Those soon gave way to a lightweight version that could be custom-ordered from the club’s pro shop.
The jacket today features the Augusta National logo on the left chest pocket and the brass buttons. Since 1967, the jackets have been made by Hamilton Tailoring Co. of Cincinnati.
The first green jacket was awarded to a winner when Sam Snead won the tournament for the first time in 1949.
Now, tradition dictates that the defending champion help the new winner into his green jacket at the presentation ceremony held after the final round. That posed an interesting dilemma in 1966, when Jack Nicklaus became the tournament’s first repeat winner. How would he get his green coat?
The issue was put to rest when Bobby Jones spoke.
“Cliff (Roberts) and I have discussed the problem, and have decided you will just have to put the coat on yourself,” Jones said.
For Nicklaus, who had established another Masters precedent, it was no problem at all.
“He didn’t seem to mind it a bit,” Jim Martin wrote in The Augusta Chronicle.
Subsequent repeat winners Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods each had help from the chairman at the time.
Don’t take it home with you
The green jacket is reserved for Augusta National members and golfers who win the Masters. Jackets are kept on club grounds, and taking them off the premises is forbidden.
Gary Player, who became the tournament’s first international winner in 1961, said he didn’t know that.
After losing a playoff in 1962 to Arnold Palmer, he packed the jacket and took it to his home in South Africa.
That led to a call from club Chairman Clifford Roberts, who was a stickler for rules.
“I didn’t know you were supposed to leave it there,” Player said. “Next thing you know, there was a call from Mr. Roberts.”
According to Player, here’s how the exchange went:
“‘Gary, have you got the jacket?’
“I said, ‘Yes, I do.’
“He said, ‘Well, no one ever takes the jacket away from here.’
“And I said, ‘Well, Mr. Roberts, if you want it, why don’t you come and fetch it?’”
Roberts, who didn’t lose many arguments, agreed to a compromise.
“He kind of chuckled and said don’t wear it in public,” Player said.
Runner-up: Silver medal, silver salver
Amateur Runner-up: Silver medal
Par-3 Contest winner: Crystal pedestal bowl
Par-3 hole-in-one: Crystal vase
Par-3 nearest to flagstick: Crystal pitcher
Double eagle: Large crystal bowl