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The secret of the Masters green jacket


Bubba Watson won a green jacket Sunday and it’s the same green jacket he won in 2012. (Jim Young / Reuters)

Bubba Watson may have won the Masters twice, but, despite all the folderol that goes with the presentation of the tournament’s signature trophy, he only has one green jacket to show for his efforts.

Augusta National Golf Course stewards award the winner of their tournament one green jacket and one green jacket only no matter how many times he wins the tourney. So, that jacket Adam Scott helped Bubba Watson don Sunday was the same green jacket he won in 2012. Winners are, Yahoo’s Shane Bacon reports, allowed to take the jacket home for a year but must return it when the next Masters begins. (Presumably, any Waffle House stains or tear streaks or baby spit-up spots are removed first.) After that, the jackets are kept at Augusta and can be worn when winners are on the grounds. (Heaven forbid a golfer outgrows it…)

Which seems a little anticlimactic. Not that Jack Nicklaus would complain, but the guy won the tournament six times and only has one jacket to show for it. It wasn’t easy for him to get that one, either. When Nicklaus first won, in 1963, the jacket he received looked, he said, like an overcoat. From Yahoo’s Jay Busbee:

When Nicklaus arrived at Augusta the next year, he assumed he wouldn’t have to wear an ill-fitting green jacket, and he was right: in his locker waiting for him was the green jacket of Tom Dewey, former governor of New York best known for the “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline misfire.

“So I put that on, and I won a few more Masters, and no mention [was ever made] of a green jacket,” Nicklaus said. “I kept putting Tom Dewey’s on.”

Dewey passed away in 1971, but his jacket remained in circulation.

Still, after so many years, Nicklaus realized the jacket was starting to fray at the edges. He decided to take matters into his own hands and approached Hart Schaffner & Marx to create his own green jacket. Yes, really.

“I said, ‘Could you make me a green jacket, please?’ ” Nicklaus explained. “I’m afraid to ask Augusta because they don’t want to give me one, I guess.”

The resulting jacket was a bit off, both in material and color, so Nicklaus went back to Dewey’s jacket all the way until 1998. That year, Nicklaus mentioned to former Augusta National chairman Jack Stephens that he’d never actually gotten a green jacket. Sure enough, when Nicklaus next visited his locker, there was a note:

“You will go to the pro shop and you will be fitted for your green jacket.”


After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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