HISTORY OF THE GREEN JACKET

Classified as the ultimate symbol of success at the Masters Tournament, the Masters green jacket is undeniably one of the most famous and iconic traditions in sport. But how did this tradition originate?

The Augusta National Invitational, now known as The Masters, was first played in 1934 and three years later, club officials decided that Augusta National members would wear these jackets so they could be easily identified at tournaments and offer assistance to the large crowds of spectators.

It wasn’t until 1949, 15 years past the tournament’s inauguration, that co-founder and club chairman, Clifford Roberts decide they would also award the winner of the tournament with the same green jacket. That year, it was Sam Snead who won and became the first person to ever receive the jacket on that basis.

It became tradition for the defending champion to help the new winner of the tournament into the green jacket at the presentation ceremony. Although this posed an interesting problem when Jack Nicklaus became the first repeat winner in 1966 and had to put the jacket on himself. Jack now holds the record, winning six Masters tournaments between 1963 and 1986.

Golf legends Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods have both earned four jackets each throughout their golfing careers and Woods became the youngest winner of the Masters at just 21 years of age when he took out the title in 1997. Jimmy Demaret, Nick Faldo, Phil Mickelson, Sam Snead and Gary Player have all won the tournament three times.

Despite the jacket being green, uncomfortable looking and hot in the warm Georgia springtime, it is the ultimate symbol of golfing success and for that reason it remains one of the most exclusive and well protected trophies. The rule is that green jackets must be returned upon the tournaments completion and must never leave the premises. However an exception is made for the reigning champion who is allowed to hold onto his green jacket for one year.

Who will this exclusive honor be bestowed upon this year?