The Masters Green Jacket is presented to the winner each year at Augusta National Golf Club, but when did this tradition begin and why?
The Masters Green Jacket is presented to the US Masters winner in the immediate aftermath of their victory. That jacket is borrowed off an Augusta member with roughly the same build as the winner, before the champion is later measured for their own tailored version.
But when did this The Masters Green Jacket tradition begin, and why?
The Masters Green Jacket was first introduced in 1937. The idea was that Augusta National members would wear these jackets during the tournament to make them stand out to members of the public needing guidance or assistance.
It was an idea borrowed from Royal Liverpool in England when a visiting Bobby Jones attended a dinner. At this dinner there was a collection of club captains who were all wearing matching jackets to denote their position.
The first Augusta National jackets soon followed, bought from the Brooks Uniform Company in New York. But they were not popular with the members, who found the material too thick and uncomfortable in warm weather, so they soon changed supplier.
From 1937 through to 1948 only Augusta National members wore the jackets, but in 1949 Sam Snead became the first winner to be honoured with the now famous Green Jacket.
After Snead received a jacket, Augusta National retroactively awarded them to each former winner. This included the likes of Byron Nelson, Jimmy Demaret and Gene Sarazen.
After that tradition more followed, including the ceremony where the new champion is presented with his jacket in Butler Cabin by the previous year’s champion. Last year this saw Jordan Spieth hand one over to Danny Willet, after the two fought it out on a tense Sunday.
The Masters champion can keep his jacket for a year, and then he has to return it to Augusta National where it remains. He can then only wear it when he is on site at the golf club.
The Masters Green Jacket – The Exception
There is one exception…..
When Gary Player won the The Masters in 1961 he became the first international winner and took the jacket home with him to South Africa. When Player then returned to Augusta National in 1962 he forgot to bring the jacket back, later telling Augusta National Director Clifford Roberts “Well, you can come and fetch it.” Player still has that jacket at home, but agreed to never wear it in public.