AUGUSTA, Ga. — This isn’t any ordinary jacket, so there are rules when it comes to the Masters green jacket. And the Masters winner may slip one on come Sunday evening, but that doesn’t mean it will sit in the champion’s closet until the end of time.
Guidelines are strict regarding the sport’s most iconic article of clothing.
First off, jackets are reserved for club members and Masters winners. Taking jackets off the grounds is a big no-no, unless you are the most recent Masters champ.
The current champ gets to keep the jacket in their possession for a year before returning it during the next year’s Masters (the one they get at the winner’s ceremony is temporary; they are fitted and receive a new one soon after). When a new champion is crowned, the previous winner (like all other winners before them) has to keep his jacket at the club. They only get to wear it when they come back to the club or if they happen to be out representing the Masters or Augusta National at an event with ties to the club.
Members began wearing the jackets in 1937 to distinguish themselves from patrons (for information and, of course, so the waiters knew who to hand the check to), and the first jacket awarded to a Masters winner went to Sam Snead in 1949. Past champions then received them retroactively. The tradition, as you’ll see on Sunday night, is for the previous winner to place the green jacket on the newest Masters champ.
The jackets have been made by many different companies over the years, and the iconic color is Pantone 342.
While few of these jackets exist, they’re quite the collectable. Green Jacket Auctions sold inaugural Augusta National Invitational winner Horton Smith’s for $682,229 in 2013.
For more history on the Masters green jacket, click here.
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