The first ever Augusta National Invitation Tournament started March 22, 1934. We now know the event as the Masters. Their green jacket is, arguably, the most coveted prize in golf. If you have a green jacket, you're either a member of one of the most prestigious golf clubs in the world -- Augusta National Golf Club -- or, even better, a Masters champion.
The Augusta National Golf Club was founded by Bobby Jones, the legendary amateur champion, and Clifford Roberts, an investment banker in New York. Upon his retirement from championship golf in 1930, Bobby Jones had hoped to realize his dream of building a golf course. Following a brief conversation with Clifford Roberts, it was decided the Club would be built near Augusta, Georgia, provided a suitable piece of ground was available. Thomas Barrett, Jr., a mutual friend of Jones and Roberts, recommended a 365-acre property called Fruitland Nurseries. They decided to establish a national membership for the Club, and Jones proposed the name, Augusta National. Construction on the new course began in the first half of 1931 and the course opened in December 1932 with a limited amount of member play. The formal opening took place in January 1933.
Looking to provide a service to golf by hosting a tournament, Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts decided to hold an annual event beginning in 1934. The final decision was made at a meeting in New York at the office of Club member W. Alton Jones. Roberts proposed the event be called the "Masters Tournament", but Bobby Jones objected thinking it too presumptuous. The name "Augusta National Invitation Tournament" was adopted and the title was used for five years until 1939, when Jones relented and the name was officially changed. Beginning in 1940, the Masters was scheduled each year during the first full week in April.
Now let's talk about the Green Jacket! Being a color nerd, I enjoyed discovering at Augusta National, the green jacket's color is known as "Masters Green", but the actual shade used is "Pantone 342" (Pantone is the international color guide).
Though Augusta National opened in 1934, it wasn't until 1937 that the green jacket came to be. From 1937-1948, only Augusta National members wore the green jacket. In 1949, Sam Snead became the first Master's winner to be honored with a green jacket and it was then awarded -- retroactively -- to all previous winners.
One of the many great traditions at the Masters includes having the tournament's defending champion help the new champion slip into the green jacket. Jack Nicklaus caused a dilemma in 1966 when he became the first player to win the Masters in consecutive seasons. Jones and Roberts had a quick discussion and decided Nicklaus would put the jacket on himself (Much to the delight of the crowd). Since then, only Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods have won consecutive Masters Tournaments. In those instances, the Masters Chairman helped Faldo and Woods into their green jackets.
Green jackets are kept on club grounds and taking them off the premises is forbidden. The exception: The current Masters champion can take the jacket home for the year and return it to the club at the next Masters Tournament.
As for the green jacket manufacturing, starting in 1937, Augusta National bought green jackets from the Brooks Uniform Company in New York. Members, however, were not fans of these particular green jackets, as they found the material too thick and uncomfortable in warm weather, so they soon changed supplier. Since 1967, Hamilton Tailoring Co. of Cincinnati has been the exclusive maker of the green jacket. That being known, Hamilton Tailoring does not accept orders from the general public for pantone 342 jackets. The green jacket is a classic, three-button, single-breasted and single-vent, featuring the Augusta National Golf Club logo on the left chest pocket. The logo also appears on the three brass buttons. The tropical-weight wool comes from the Forstmann Co. mill in Dublin, Georgia. The logo-stamped brass buttons are made by Waterbury Co. of Massachusetts and the breast-pocket patch is made by A&B Emblem Co. in Weaverville, North Carolina. The owner's name is stitched on the inside label of the jacket. A multiple Masters winner will receive only one jacket unless their size has changed drastically.
Do you watch the Masters? What is your favorite victory to date?