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burning Question
April 08, 2002
Do Masters champions get to keep their green jackets?
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April 08, 2002

Burning Question

Do Masters champions get to keep their green jackets?

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Only for a year. When the winner returns to the course to defend his title, he is expected to return the green blazer to Augusta National, where it stays for good. The jacket is available to the champion whenever he visits but is not to leave the premises—the garments are even cleaned on the grounds. Multiple winners receive the same jacket with each victory. (That's why Tiger Woods asked for extra-roomy measurements when he won as a 21-year-d in 1997, figuring he would be slipping on the same blazer in future ceremonies as an older man.) This mirrors the policy for Augusta National members, who have been wearing some form of the green jacket since Masters founder Clifford Roberts purchased the first batch in bulk from Brooks Uniform Company of New York in 1937. "It's just a tradition that has evolved," says Masters publicist Glenn Greenspan of the coats' travel restrictions. "The champions guard the tradition as much as anyone."

With a few exceptions. The late Henry Picard, who won the tournament in 1938, for years had his jacket proudly hanging in his closet at home in Charleston, S.C. Gary Player also took his jacket home, to South Africa, after he won his first Masters title in 1961. When Roberts called Player to remind him of the jacket's no-travel tradition, Player told Roberts he'd have to come to South Africa and fetch the coat himself. As a concession Player agreed not to ever wear the jacket, and he never has—not even to dinner in his own house.

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