Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty ImagesPhoto by Andrew Redington/Getty Images
The Green Jacket is, arguably, the most coveted prize in all of golf.
If you have a green jacket, you're either a member of one of the most prestigious golf clubs in the world -- Augusta National Golf Club -- or, even better, a Masters champion.
So how did the green jacket become such a symbol? There are two different stories about how the idea of the green jacket came to be.
The first story is Augusta National co-founder and one of golf's greatest champions, Bobby Jones, attended a dinner at 12-time Open Championship venue Royal Liverpool in England where club captains were wearing matching jackets to denote their position. Jones liked that.
The other story is that Augusta National co-founder Clifford Roberts figured it was a way to identify club members as "reliable sources of information" to visiting non-members -- and to let waiters know who got the check at dinner.
Either way, Augusta National bought green jackets from the Brooks Uniform Company in New York in 1937, three years after the club opened. Members were not fans of these green jackets, as they found the material too thick and uncomfortable in warm weather, so they soon changed suppliers.
Since 1967, Hamilton Tailoring Co. of Cincinnati has been the exclusive maker of the green jacket. But don't even think about trying to order one for yourself... Hamilton Tailoring does not accept orders from the general public for such an iconic article of clothing.
The color of the jackets, known as "Masters Green", is actually a shade of brilliant rye green known as "Pantone 342."
The green jacket is a classic, three-button, single-breasted and single-vent, featuring the Augusta National Golf Club logo on the left chest pocket. The logo also appears on the brass buttons.
The tropical-weight wool -- roughly 2 1/2 yards per jacket -- comes from the Forstmann Co. mill in Dublin, Ga.
The logo-stamped brass buttons are made by Waterbury Co. of Massachusetts and the breast-pocket patch is made by A&B Emblem Co. in Weaverville, N.C.
The owner's name is stitched on the inside label of the jacket.
Because of all the materials used, it takes roughly a month to make a single green jacket from start to finish.
One of the many great traditions at the Masters includes having the tournament's defending champion help the new champion slip into the green jacket. This caused a dilemma in 1966 when Jack Nicklaus became the first player to win the Masters in consecutive seasons. Jones and co-founder Clifford Roberts had a quick discussion and decided Nicklaus would put the jacket on himself. Since then, only Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods have won consecutive Masters Tournaments. In those instances, the Masters Chairman helped Faldo and Woods into their green jackets.
Green jackets are kept on club grounds and taking them off the premises is forbidden. There is an exception: The Masters champion can take the jacket home and return it to the club at the next Masters.
However, there is one other exception in tournament history...
In 1961, South Africa's Gary Player became the tournament's first international winner and took the green jacket back to his home country. When he returned the next year (where he would lose in a playoff to Arnold Palmer), Player forgot to bring the jacket back.
When Roberts reminded Player that the jacket needed to be at Augusta National, Player responded by telling Roberts, "Well, Mr. Roberts, if you want it, why don’t you come and fetch it?"
Roberts got a kick out of it and came up with a compromise with Player.
"He kind of chuckled and said don't wear it in public," Player said.
The green jacket you see the winner slip into on Masters Sunday? That's just for the presentation. The winner later receives his custom green jacket to wear when on the Augusta National grounds.
Rich in history and tradition, the green jacket ultimately symbolizes one of golf's greatest achievements and is one of, if not the most, iconic pieces of clothing in the game.
PGA of America
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