Masters green jacket: How it started, and the strict rules that come with it

Tiger Woods puts the Masters green jacket on Dustin Johnson in 2020.

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AUGUSTA, Ga. — Come Sunday night at Augusta National Golf Club, someone will win the Masters green jacket and their life will change forever.

It’s the most coveted jacket in all of sports, but it’s definitely not your ordinary coat. Here’s what you need to know about it.

— First, the color. You know you were wondering. It’s Pantone 342, also known as Masters Green. (Your new basement hue? Smart choice.)

— The club bought its first jackets from Brooks Uniform Company in 1937, but members, who were encouraged to buy them so patrons could identify reliable sources of information, were not thrilled about how warm they were. There have been a few different suppliers since then, but Hamilton Tailoring Co. has made them since 1967. (No, you can’t buy one.) Besides the club logo on the left chest pocket, it’s also on the brass buttons.

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— The jackets weren’t given to Masters champs until 1949, when Sam Snead won. They were awarded to all previous winners retroactively.

— You probably know this one, but Masters tradition is that the previous tournament’s winner puts the jacket on the new champ every Sunday night. But what about back-to-back winners? In 1966, when Jack Nicklaus repeated as champion, club co-founder Bobby Jones suggested, jokingly, that Nicklaus handle both roles and slip it on himself. The last two times there was a repeat champion, with Nick Faldo in 1990 and Tiger Woods in 2002, the club’s chairman assisted with the jacket.

— Jackets are reserved for club members and Masters winners. That’s it. And don’t even think about taking them off the grounds. That right is reserved only for the reigning champ after their victory. But when their year is up and they return next April to defend their title, the jacket stays put as soon as the new champion puts theirs on.

— There are, however, certain times Masters champions get to wear their jacket off grounds, which is when they might be representing the tournament or club at a function or event.

— As the Masters nears its finish, the club will select a few jackets that might fit the potential winner. The jacket the winner gets the night of their victory is not the one they keep. They are fitted immediately after their win and receive the new one shortly after.

— Jackets aren’t found in the wild often. And they aren’t cheap. Back in 2013, Green Jacket Auctions sold inaugural Augusta National Invitational winner Horton Smith’s jacket for $682,229.

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Josh Berhow

Golf.com Editor

Josh Berhow is the managing editor at GOLF.com. The Minnesota native graduated with a journalism degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.