AUGUSTA, Ga. — The green jacket is the ultimate symbol of success in golf.
A golfer wearing the single-breasted, single-vent garment has achieved something special: a victory at the Masters Tournament.
Augusta National Golf Club 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.
Here’s what to know about the Masters green jacket:
Do Masters champions keep the green jacket?
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.
The exception is for the winner, who can take it home and return it to the club the following year.
Gary Player reportedly got into a heated exchange in 1962 with Cliff Roberts after he mistakenly took his jacket home to South Africa.
“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.
So, you can’t take it with you?
Champions can for a year – and some jackets from former members have come up for auction in recent years. And the Augusta National has filed suit to keep jackets off the auction block.
1970 Masters champion Billy Casper receives his green jacket from defending champion winner George Archer at Augusta National Golf Club. (Photo: The Augusta Chronicle)
But the ultimate taking it with you story belongs to the 1970 Masters champion. Billy Casper never lost his appreciation for the Masters Tournament and Augusta National Golf Club.
How it started
Augusta National members began wearing the jackets in 1937.
The original purpose of the green jacket, as envisioned by Cliff Roberts, was to identify club members as “reliable sources of information” to visiting non-members – and to let waiters know who got the check at dinner.
What it means
A golfer wearing the three-button style, single-breasted and center-vented garment has achieved something special: a victory at Augusta National Golf Club.
The first green jacket was awarded to a winner when Sam Snead won the tournament for the first time in 1949, to make him an honorary member. It was then awarded to all past champions retroactively.
Who presents the green jacket to the winner?
Traditionally, the previous year’s winner presents the jacket to the new champion at the tournament’s end. In case of a repeat winner, the Masters chairman presents the jacket to the winner.
2019 Masters champion Tiger Woods presents Dustin Johnson with the green jacket after winning the 20202 Masters Tournament at Augusta National GC. (Photo: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports)
This has happened three times, first in 1966 when Jack Nicklaus became the first repeat champion, then in 1990 when Nick Faldo repeated the feat. The last time was when Tiger Woods repeated as Masters champion in 2002.
Who makes it
For three decades, Cincinnati-based Hamilton Tailoring Co. has made the traditional blazer worn by Masters Tournament winners. It uses wool fabric produced at the Victor Forstmann Inc. mill in the central Georgia town of Dublin. The company takes about a month to produce each blazer, which is fitted with custom brass buttons inscribed with the Augusta National logo. The owner’s name is stitched on a label inside.
What color is the Masters green jacket?
That brilliant rye green is Pantone 342.