Each year golf enthusiasts gather around the TV or, for a lucky few, at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, to watch the winner of The Masters don an iconic Green Jacket. But, like many, you've probably wondered, "Why is it green?", "Who makes the green jacket?", "When did this odd tradition begin?" or even "How do they know it will fit the winner?" With that, we look back at the interesting history of The Masters' Green Jacket.
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According to the Masters, the Augusta National member’s green coat began way back in 1937. Jackets were purchased from the Brooks Uniform Company in New York City. Club members were urged to buy and wear a jacket during The Masters so patrons would be able to identify a reliable source of information. As you might imagine, members were not initially enthusiastic about wearing the warm, green coat. To remedy this issue, a lightweight, made-to-order jacket was made available from the Club’s Golf Shop.
In 1949, the first Green Jacket was awarded to Sam Snead, that year’s Masters champion. The single-breasted, single-vent jacket’s color is known as “Masters Green” and is adorned with an Augusta National Golf Club logo on the left chest pocket. The logo also appears on the brass buttons.
Traditionally, the champion takes his jacket home with him for one year, returning it to the club when he returns for the tournament. The jacket is then stored at Augusta National Golf Club and is available whenever the champion visits. Near the conclusion of The Masters, several jackets are selected which could fit the possible winner during the presentation ceremony. The winner will have his measurements taken at the Club’s Golf Shop or may provide measurements so that a custom-made Green Jacket can be tailored. Typically, a multiple winner will have only one Green Jacket unless his size drastically changes.
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It is the custom at The Masters that the winner from the previous year presents the Green Jacket to the new winner and helps him into it. But what happens when a golfer has back-to-back wins? Well, that happened in 1966 when Jack Nicklaus became the first champion to win consecutive tournaments. Bobby Jones recommended that Nicklaus act in a dual capacity, and put on his own coat. Nicklaus proceeded to slip into his own Green Jacket, much to the crowd's delight.
In 1990, Nick Faldo became the second champion to win consecutive tournaments. This time, Chairman Hord W. Hardin assisted the winner into his Green Jacket. When Tiger Woods won in 2002, he became the third champion to win consecutive tournaments. At the Presentation Ceremony, Chairman Hootie Johnson assisted Woods into his Green Jacket.
So who will take home this year's Green Jacket? We'll have to wait and see.