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Mastering The Masters: The Meaning of the Green Jacket

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charl schwartzel green jacket Mastering The Masters: The Meaning of the Green Jacket

(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images for Golf Week)

The green jacket is awarded to the winner of the PGA’s Masters Tournament, held the first full week of April at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. The green jacket is one of the most recognizable awards in sports. But many fans don’t fully appreciate the history and tradition behind it.

The custom of the green jacket originated in 1937. Members of the Augusta National Golf Club wore the sport coats so that tournament attendees could easily spot them to ask questions. It also told club waiters who would be picking up the check at dinner.

The jacket soon became official attire worn by club members while on the club grounds during the tournament. Whenever an individual wins the Masters, he becomes an honorary member of Augusta and is given a green jacket. The winner can keep the jacket for one year before returning it to the clubhouse. He must also wear it whenever he visits the club. The first green jacket was awarded to Sam Snead in 1949.

augusta 2 Mastering The Masters: The Meaning of the Green Jacket

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The presentation of the green jacket takes place inside the Butler Cabin immediately after the tournament, and is repeated near the 18th hole for spectators. Tournament officials select several jackets during the final round based on the leaders. The winner’s measurements are taken later so a custom green jacket can be tailored. Hamilton Tailoring Co. of Cincinnati has made the jackets since 1967.

tiger woods green jacket Mastering The Masters: The Meaning of the Green Jacket

(Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images)

The previous year’s winner presents the jacket to the current winner, but occasionally a player wins in consecutive years. Jack Nicklaus was the first, winning the Masters in 1965 and 1966. He put the jacket on himself. Nick Faldo (1989) and Tiger Woods (2002) are also repeat winners. The chairman of the Augusta National did the honors on these occasions.

The green jacket is a symbol of prestige as big as any in the world of sports, and those who earn it wear it proudly. Charl Schwartzel is this year’s Masters champion, and PGA fans anxiously wait to see if he can repeat in 2012.

Green Jacket Winners
2011 – Charl Schwartzel
2010 – Phil Mickelso
2009 – Angel Cabrera
2008 – Trevor Immelman
2007 – Zach Johnson
2006 – Phil Mickelson
2005 – Tiger Woods
2004 – Phil Mickelson
2003 – Mike Weir
2002 – Tiger Woods
2001 – Tiger Woods
2000 – Vijay Singh
1999 – Jose Maria Olazabal
1998 – Mark O’Meara
1997 – Tiger Woods
1996 – Nick Faldo
1995 – Ben Crenshaw
1994 – Jose Maria Olazabal
1993 – Bernhard Langer
1992 – Fred Couples
1991 – Ian Woosnam
1990 – Nick Faldo
1989 – Nick Faldo
1988 – Sandy Lyle
1987 – Larry Mize
1986 – Jack Nicklaus
1985 – Bernhard Langer
1984 – Ben Crenshaw
1983 – Seve Ballesteros
1982 – Craig Stadler
1981 – Tom Watson
1980 – Seve Ballesteros
1979 – Fuzzy Zoeller
1978 – Gary Player
1977 – Tom Watson
1976 – Raymond Floyd
1975 – Jack Nicklaus
1974 – Gary Player
1973 – Tommy Aaron
1972 – Jack Nicklaus
1971 – Charles Coody
1970 – Billy Casper
1969 – George Archer
1968 – Bob Goalby
1967 – Gay Brewer
1966 – Jack Nicklaus
1965 – Jack Nicklaus
1964 – Arnold Palmer
1963 – Jack Nicklaus
1962 – Arnold Palmer
1961 – Gary Player
1960 – Arnold Palmer
1959 – Art Wall
1958 – Arnold Palmer
1957 – Doug Ford
1956 – Jack Burke Jr.
1955 – Cary Middlecoff
1954 – Sam Snead
1953 – Ben Hogan
1952 – Sam Snead
1951 – Ben Hogan
1950 – Jimmy Demaret
1949 – Sam Snead

(Note: The Masters Tournament actually started in 1934, 15 years before the tradition of the green jacket.)

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