By Phil Hecken
It’s one of the greatest traditions is all of sport, and it’s probably the MOST famous one in which the winner is awarded an article of clothing. Yes, the winner of golf’s only “permanent” Major receives a Green Jacket (and a prize of $1.35 million) upon winning the Masters.
The tradition-rich Masters has many “notable” aspects, including an automatic invitation to the year’s remaining three majors and a lifetime exemption to play in all future Masters. Since the tournament itself was the idea of Bobby Jones, who never played as a professional and wanted to build a golf course after his retirement from the game, the Masters has a tradition of honoring amateur golf.
On the Tuesday of the Tournament, the previous year’s winner hosts a Champions’ Dinner, and sets the menu. After Eldrick Woods won his first Masters in 1997, he selected a menu including cheeseburgers, grilled chicken sandwiches and strawberry and vanilla milkshakes, although his selections “grew up” as he won additional Masters. Sandy Lyle, a Scot, chose haggis, (the heart, liver and lungs of a sheep, minced with suet, oatmeal, onions and herbs, then boiled in the animal’s stomach), with side dishes consisting of neeps and taddies (mashed potatoes and mashed turnips). Mmmmm.
Since 1963, the Tournament has been “started” by having an honorary past champion strike the first ball. You may recognize this year’s co-starters. Other years have featured the immortal Sam Snead, Gene Sarazen (who hit maybe the most famous golf shot in history at the 1935 Masters) and Byron Nelson. Golf royalty all.
Players receive several awards for stellar play, including a crystal vase, given to the player with the daily lowest score, a crystal bowl, given to anyone who scores an ace or double-eagle, and a pair of crystal goblets are given to any player scoring an eagle. The winner, in addition to his green jacket, receives a gorgeous trophy.
But it is the Green Jacket with which the Masters is inextricably linked, and which may be the most exclusive and unique prize in all of sport. Let’s take a look at that now.
Although the Masters began in 1934, the Green Jacket did not become an immediate accoutrement. But the idea was hatched years earlier.
According to Golf.com, “Jones came up with the idea when he was at Hoylake for the 1930 British Open, the second leg of his Grand Slam. He was invited to dinner at Royal Liverpool, where he noticed 15 men wearing red coats with brass buttons. He was told that only captains of the club wore the red jackets, and one of them offered to give Jones his if he won the Open. That coat now hangs in the clubhouse at Atlanta Athletic Club, his home course.”
Thus, in 1937, Bobby Jones and his masters co-founder Clifford Roberts thought members should wear matching jackets so as to more easily identify themselves to those following the tournament. That is the date when members contracted with Brooks Brothers Uniform Company in New York City for the garments. Members of the club were encouraged to purchase a jacket and wear it, especially during the tournament. In this way, members could readily be identified when a patron had a question or comment.
At first, the members were not overly enthusiastic about wearing what was then a heavy wool jacket, particularly during April, when it could be quite warm. However, within a few years, the jackets were made of a lighter fabric. Dubbed “Masters Green,” today, members eagerly wear the single-breasted, single-vented outerwear, adorned with an Augusta National Golf Club logo on the left chest pocket. The logo also appears on the brass buttons.
For the next twelve years, only members of Augusta National would don the green jackets. But in 1949, the real tradition would begin: the awarding of a ceremonial green jacket to the winner of the tournament. Sam Snead, the 1949 champion, was the first to be awarded the green jacket. This was a gesture by the club to make the winner an honorary member. That same year, all past champions were also awarded the coats.
Since that time, it has also been the tradition for the prior year’s winner to present the new champion with his jacket. It’s quite a fun and touching moment, and it is always one which signifies the changing of the guard, so to speak.
For the most part, the Masters has produced well-known champions (at least to those who follow golf), and the “jacket ceremony” includes a hall-of-fame contingent: Arnold Palmer to Gary Player, Gary Player to Fuzzy Zoeller, Gary Player to Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo to Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh to Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson to Tiger Woods, Tiger back to Phil…Jack Nicklaus to Arnold Palmer…Arnie back to Jack……well, you get the idea.
Over the years, 45 players have won the Masters, which means there have been multiple champions. Jack Nicklaus has won the most, with six, while Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer each have four. Player, Faldo and Snead all have 3, and Phil Mickelson hopes to join them with three this evening.
What happens, you might ask, when the current champion repeats? Who presents him with the Green Jacket? It has happened, although it won’t this year, but Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods have all two-peated. In that event, the Chairman of the Club presents the jacket.
The members are, understandably, very possessive of the Green Jacket. Only the current champion is permitted to remove the jacket from the premises. When Mike Weir won the jacket, he took it home to Canada and let his grandfather wear it (his grandfather passed away shortly after). Others, like 2007 Champion Zach Johnson have taken a decidedly different approach. Of all the Green Jackets given out by Augusta, only one was never returned.
Gary Player (seen in 1978), captured his first Masters in 1961 (and received the Green Jacket from Arnold Palmer), returning the favor in 1962 by presenting Palmer with his third green jacket — but Player did NOT return his jacket to the club, instead bringing it to his home in South Africa. Said Player:
“I assumed it was mine. I got a call from Clifford Roberts and he said, ‘Gary, I believe you’ve taken the Masters jacket home. You’re not supposed to do that. And I said, ‘Mr. Roberts, if you want it, you better come and fetch it.'” Fortunately, Roberts appreciated the humor, and supposedly, the jacket remains in Player’s closet today, draped in plastic.
So, as you watch the Masters today, wondering if leader Lee Westwood can claim his first green jacket, or Phil Michelson can take home a third, or whether KJ Choi, Tiger or even Freddy Couples can put on a Sunday charge, you’ll know more than you ever wanted to about the famous accoutrement. Sure, there’s more to Augusta than the jacket — from Amen Corner to the Sarazen Bridge to the big oak and Eisenhower trees, to the Hogan Bridge over Rae’s Creek — when all is said and done, the best tradition will be around sunset when Angel Cabrera is presenting the Green Jacket to this year’s new champion.
One and done. Happens to rock stars, Presidents and athletes alike. But comic strip characters? That’s a new one. Here’s Rick:
Gotta have a Wingman, right? And you gotta be VERY fussy about your choice. Gotta trust him, rely on him, be assured that he will, y’know, “take one for the team.” But (hey, c’mon, let’s be honest here) he REALLY can’t have more going for himself than you do.
Indeed. Here’s your full-color Sunday Benchies.
From The Squiddie Files: ONLY ON MASTERS’ SUNDAY could Lance Smith come up with something so delectably devilish as what follows. It’s a quiz, but not one like you’ve ever experienced before. There’s some golf, to be sure, but there are several other sports involved as well. And just how did he “name” the quiz questions? Quite simply, each question is the name of a hole at hallowed Augusta National (as if you didn’t know that). And how is each hole named at the Masters? Each hole on the course is named after the tree or shrub with which it has become associated. So, sit back, grab a stubby pencil with no eraser, and get read to take part in Squiddie’s quiz. Don’t blow it on Amen Corner — and make sure you clear the Eisenhower Tree. Here’s Squiddie with the setup:
Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s tee time for the Architeuthis Country Club Invitational Golf Tournament. Below you’ll find eighteen links to photos from Life magazine. Each photo features a sports personality. Each link has a par on how difficult I think it is to identify that person. As with real golf, some par 3 holes may challenge you while you eagle a par 5. Such is the subtle mystery of golf. Remember also that these pars are for Ricko, our club professional. Your handicap might be higher.
Do the names of the holes have anything to do with the identity of the personalities? Possibly, but usually through some really tortured logic which made sense to me at the time.
What about the yardage? Totally irrelevant, but the purists insist.
Answers will be posted following the Masters today or tomorrow. Remember to sign your scorecards. Please no wagering.
Let’s look at some photos.
Super job, as always, Lance. Remember to check back later today (or possibly tomorrow) for the answers. Feel free to post your guesses in the comments below.
Guess The Game From The Scoreboard: Well, if you paid attention to the main article, you’ll probably be able to figure out the sport and location with no problem. But the date and the final score? Since it’s kind of tricky, the “top scores” will suffice. Not sure where this is going? You will. Guess The Game From The Scoreboard. Date, location and final score, please, and be sure to link to your answer. And, as always, if you enjoy the game, please send me some new scoreboards! Drop me a line. Thanks!
Back again with more Uniform Tweaks, Concepts and Revisions today. Lots to get to, and if you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
First up is a BIG set of tweaks, spanning the three major sports, as well as hockey, from John Follett. John sent me 9 “weeks” worth, and we’re going to look at the first three today:
Ive been a part of a particular sports talk forum for quite a while and part of what we all like to do is fiddle around with photoshop. An avid UniWatch reader and lifelong sports uni enthusiast, I had an idea of hosting a little on-site Uniform re-branding contest. Each week we I put up a team, mostly teams the most in need of a re-brand/tweak, and we all get right to work. I’ve always been proponent of the idea that fans always come up with way better designs than teams or hired hands do…and I think some of our results further cemented the theory. Of course we featured the “bad”, the “ugly”, and the “bizzare”, but feast your eyes on what SportzIn.com’s “Design the Digs” competition produced.
Week 1 — Golden State Warriors: So what the hell with the “Rocketeer” logo? Nothing about the current Warriros’ design cries of California and with such a bad-ass name, the franchise really dropped the ball in what they’ve been wearing in recent years. My submission came first and featured a blast from the past. Primary logo, Secondary logos, Wordmark, Road, Home, Alternate. A good friend and hell of an artist known as “Snowy” came next: Logos, Road, Home. Finally for the week, one of the more interesting designs came from Sam Galea: Home.
Week 2 – Cleveland Browns: Okay…perhaps the most re-designed and concept’d team out there…and for good reason. Though we had moderate success with the Warriors, we hoped that a switch to an NFL team would generate more activity & more results. Sam Galea opted for a pretty bold color scheme change. I opted for a submission that made perfect re-branding sense. Baggino from Boston took a crack at a uniform: Home, Road, Alternate, Logo. Snowy came in with his Modernized vision. Site Moderator Jarrod Lundberg gave us all a vision of what scares him at night.
Week 3 – Kansas City Royals: I feel like this was the week where we finally struck gold. The Royals may not necessarily be in much need of change but we did feel that it was time to do something, anything to make the team more appealing to its once prominent fan base. Sam started us off with an updated Logo set. Snowy again impresses with his vision. By far my best submission of the entire contest. I opted to maintain the script branding that team has worn for so long, but added enough of a twist to make it more interesting.
— John Follett
Thanks John, we’ll get to the next batch shortly.
Next up is Ben Trice, who has a “fantasy” team for us:
I’ve really enjoyed the Uniform Tweaks that have been posted over the last several weeks, specifically the NFL ones.
Thanks to the EA uniform generator, I took a stab at trying to create a uniform for my fantasy football team. Sure this isn’t a real team but I thought I’d submit my concept regardless. If I had greater artistic skills, I would have created a team logo as well for my Huron Heartbreakers.
Enjoy….or not enjoy. Your choice.
Our final set of tweaks today comes from Eric Wright, who has some interesting takes on the Titans of Tennessee:
Here are some Tennsee Titans Tweaks.
The theory behind the concept was to keep the bring a little more of the red to play which is in the helmets, and historically was an integral part of the old Oilers uniforms. I look forward to the comments.
And on that note, we conclude today’s tweak show. Check back next time for more.
Yesterday’s throwback game between the Astros and Phillies was relatively uneventful, although the ‘stros did pretty faithfully recreate their 1965 duds. Even though the Phillies played along, it was rather disappointing, since not only did their throwbacks very closely resemble their current uniforms, every player who normally wears his pants pajama-style did so last night, completely ruining the mood (and why the hell was Chase Utley wearing sunglasses on his cap in the ninth inning? The sun had set hours before then). Only Jamie Moyer, who normally shows hose, was properly stirruped. At least the Astros all showed stirrup (and a nice touch with the star). The Astros unis appeared to have a cream-colored tinge to them — not sure that was necessary or even correct. And neither team spent any money for “period correct” helmets (although the Phillies really needn’t have bothered). Biggest pet peeve? The ubiquituous swoosh visible underneath every uni. At least the grounds crew got into it with throwback “uniforms”. More photos here. Video of the turn back the clock festivities, and the Astros first HR of the season is here.
OK Uni Watchers, let’s put this one in the books. Enjoy your Sunday, make CBS happy by watching the Masters, take your last look at the MLB Extra Innings free preview…and if you care, try to find the Rangers/Flyers win-and-in game on the tele.
In baseball you hit your home run over the right-field fence, the left-field fence, the center-field fence. Nobody cares. In golf everything has got to be right over second base. — Ken Harrelson