Masters champions and their trophies
The green jacket is the most recognizable prize in golf, maybe in all of sports.
The venerable garment, awarded annually to the winner of the Masters Tournament since 1949, has a unique mystique. And with a few exceptions, like the green jacket Gary Player took with him to South Africa, the bulk of them are on wooden hangers in a closet at Augusta National Golf Club.
Custom dictates that the Masters winner bring his jacket back to the club when he returns as defending champion.
Less recognizable are the other prizes.
Every champion has received a gold medal, and since 1993 the winner has gotten a sterling replica of the permanent Masters Trophy, which depicts Augusta National’s clubhouse.
Champions who won before 1993 were offered a chance to buy replicas, but not all did.
The Augusta Chronicle tracked down where the champions keep their trophy. While most are kept in the golfer’s home, how each is displayed might surprise you.
Home sweet home
Most champions make the trophy the centerpiece of their home collection.
“I have a very small trophy room at my home in Australia, and that’s where I keep the Masters trophy,” 2013 winner Adam Scott said. “It sits center stage with a little shrine around it – which it deserves.”
Three-time winner Nick Faldo keeps one at his Florida home and the other two in his office in Windsor, England.
“The one in Florida’s right next to the TV so I can see it all the time,” Faldo said. “I don’t have a lot of trophies. I’ve just got a couple of big ’uns, so it’s always nice to see them.”
Tiger Woods has his four trophies at his Florida home, and Phil Mickelson keeps his three in his home office.
Jordan Spieth, the 2015 winner, recently moved into Hunter Mahan’s old home in Dallas and found a place for his replica.
“It’s in a trophy case,” Spieth said. “It’s with the U.S. Open trophy, FedEx Cup and Ryder Cup bags. It’s in the same display case that Hunter had built.”
But some winners aren’t sentimental about the trophy.
“If I tell you where it is you’re gonna think I’m crazy, but it actually just sits on a counter at my home,” Zach Johnson said. “I’m not very sentimental. I might eventually loan it to my home course in Iowa for a year or let other places display it that have meant a lot to me.”
Quite a few Masters trophies are on display in museums.
Native Georgian Tommy Aaron has his Masters memorabilia, including his bas-relief sterling silver trophy, on display at the Northeast Georgia History Center along with his Ryder Cup coat and a few of his other trophies.
Aaron did not obtain the newer trophy when he had the chance.
“Years ago, I had an opportunity to purchase one of the new three-dimensional clubhouse trophies and I declined,” Aaron said. “My wife said, ‘Why would you want the new trophy if that’s not what you won?’ She makes a good point, but sometimes I wish I had purchased one when they offered.”
Charles Coody donated his to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
“They keep a lot of memorabilia and I elected to let them showcase my Masters trophy,” Coody said. “After I pass, I knew my family would have a hard time choosing who would get it, so I just decided to give it to the hall of fame.”
The World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Fla., regularly features Masters trophies among its displays. It currently has the trophies from Sandy Lyle and Mark O’Meara on display.
A few of the replicas are in the hands of collectors.
All three of Sam Snead’s silver clubhouse replicas were sold through Heritage Auctions in separate sales in 2013 and 2014.
At least one champion is afraid his trophy might end up in the wrong hands.
“I don’t want to say and risk burglars trying to take it,” 2009 winner Angel Cabrera said through a translator.
Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player dominated the Masters for nearly two decades, and they have 13 victories at Augusta National.
Their success came before the replica of the Masters Trophy was given out, but they acquired replicas from the club.
Palmer’s four are scattered across the country. Two are in his hometown of Latrobe, Pa., with one in the reception area of his business office and the other in the lobby of the SpringHill Suites hotel in which he is a part owner.
The other two are in California: one in Palmers, his restaurant with partners in La Quinta, Calif., where he has a winter home, and the other is at Bel Air Country Club, where Palmer is an honorary member.
“They are certainly unique trophies, just as the Masters is a unique tournament,” Palmer said. “Both real treasures.”
Player, the tournament’s first international winner, has his three scattered around the world. One is in his home in Florida, another is in his Gary Player Group office in South Carolina, and the other is at his family farm in South Africa.
“They are my pride and joy,” Player said, adding that they are displayed with his three other major trophies that make up the Grand Slam.
Nicklaus has won the most Masters Tournaments (6) but has elected to get only four replicas.
He keeps one at his home, one at the Bear’s Club in Florida, and the other two in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio: one is at Muirfield Village, and the other is at the Jack Nicklaus Museum.
In the tournament’s early years, the winner didn’t receive a fancy trophy. As the tournament grew in stature, the prize money increased significantly and the prizes changed.
Though the gold medal is still awarded, the plaque was replaced in 1960 with a bas-
relief replica of the trophy. That gave way in 1993 to the sterling silver replica of the trophy.
In 1954, the tournament awarded a silver cigarette box (later just a silver box) engraved with the names of those in the field. That tradition remained until 1992.
Champions from the pre-World War II era missed out the first time around but later had chances to add trophies.
Take Byron Nelson, who won in 1937 and 1942 and later became an honorary starter. Nelson wanted one of the sterling silver boxes with the clubhouse etched on the lid, but they weren’t given retroactively. So he requested one and paid for it, and it is now in his home in Roanoke, Texas.
Nelson, who died in 2006, did receive a replica of the current Masters Trophy.
“(Augusta National Chairman) Jack Stephens called to ask Byron if he had been given one,” Nelson’s widow, Peggy, told The Chronicle in an e-mail. “When Byron said no, Mr. Stephens said, ‘Well, I’m sending you one.’ It is now on display at the Four Seasons Resort in Irving, where Byron’s tournament is held.”
The permanent Masters Trophy was introduced in 1961 and consists of 900 pieces of silver.
The depiction of Augusta National’s clubhouse weighs about 132 pounds and stands on a base that is 4 feet wide. The band for the engraved names is 9 feet, 6 inches.
The silver replica that winners receive is 13.5 inches wide, 6.5 inches tall and weighs 20 pounds.
The champion’s gold medal features Augusta National’s clubhouse on one side and the winner’s name and year of victory beneath the Masters logo.
The 14-karat piece weighs 2.3 ounces.
CHAMPIONS AND THEIR TROPHIES
The Augusta Chronicle spoke to all living Masters Tournament winners and located the trophies of six deceased champions.
Here is a look at where they keep their bas-relief replica or sterling silver replica trophies.
35: In golfers’ homes
7: At golf or country clubs
5: In museums or halls of fame
4: In offices
3: Sold at auction
2: Hotel or restaurant
TYPE: S= Sterling silver replica, B=Bas-relief replica
|Byron Nelson||S||One on display at Four Seasons Resort in Irving, Texas|
|Sam Snead||S||All three replicas sold at auction|
|Arnold Palmer||S||Latrobe, Pa., office; restaurant in La Quinta, Calif.; hotel in Latrobe; Bel Air Country Club in Los Angeles|
|Gary Player||S||Office in S.C.; farm at South Africa; home on Jupiter Island in Florida|
|Jack Nicklaus||S||Home in Florida; museum in Columbus, Ohio; Murfield Villeage in Ohio; Bear’s Club in Florida|
|Gay Brewer||B||Trophy on display at Golf House Kentucky|
|George Archer||B||Trophy on display in golf shop at Peninsula Golf & Country Club in San Mateo, Calif.|
|Charlie Coody||B||Texas Sports Hall of Fame|
|Tommy Aaron||B||Northeast Georgia History Center|
|Raymond Floyd||S||Old Palm Golf Club in Florida|
|Tom Watson||S||Library at home|
|Fuzzy Zoeller||B||Home office|
|Seve Ballesteros||S||Trophy room at his home in Pedrena, Spain|
|Craig Stadler||S||Den at home|
|Ben Crenshaw||S||Home office|
|Bernhard Langer||S||Home office|
|Larry Mize||B||Great room at home|
|Sandy Lyle||S||World Golf Hall of Fame|
|Nick Faldo||S||One in Florida home, two in office in England|
|Ian Woosnam||S||Trophy room at home|
|Jose Maria Olazabal||S||Home|
|Mark O’Meara||S||World Golf Hall of Fame|
|Phil Mickelson||S||Home office|
|Trever Immelman||S||Home office|
|Angel Cabrera||S||Declined to answer|
HISTORY OF TROPHIES AND PRIZES SINCE THE MASTERS BEGAN IN 1934
The prizes given to winners have varied through the years. Here is a look at the highlights:
1942: Silver plaque with gold bar presented for first time, and retroactively to all champions. Discontinued in 1960.
1949: Green jacket awarded for first time, and retroactively to all champions. It is still awarded.
1951: Gold medal given for first time, and all previous winners and those since have received it.
1954-1970: Silver cigarette box engraved with players’ signatures. In 1964, Arnold Palmer received a sterling ice bucket engraved with players’ names, and in 1966, Jack Nicklaus was given a silver tray engraved with players’ names in lieu of the cigarette box.
1960-1992: Bas-relief sterling silver replica of the Masters Trophy awarded.
1971-1992: Silver box engraved with players’ signatures
1993 TO PRESENT: Sterling silver replica of Masters Trophy
Sources: Masters media guide, Masters Journal