When Tiger Woods slipped into his Masters green jacket Sunday in Butler Cabin, with an assist from 2018 champion Patrick Reed, an awkward moment of silence followed, before a glowing Tiger peeped, “It fits.”
At that instant, you may have asked yourself: How did they have the right-sized jacket ready for Tiger minutes after his win? The answer might surprise you.
It turns out that the green jacket Tiger wrapped himself in Sunday afternoon was the exact same one that he donned after his four other Masters victories.
— Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) April 14, 2019
That’s right, Tiger Woods did not capture his fifth green jacket on April, 14, 2019 at Augusta National. He just put on his old green jacket for the fifth time.
Ever since Sam Snead won the Masters in 1949, Augusta National Golf Club has awarded each new champion with an iconic green jacket. A brand-spanking new one (the ANGC members have been wearing the rye green wool coats since 1937).
But that’s for each new champion. If you are one of the lucky few to win the Masters a second time, you have to hold your nose and put your stinking old jacket on to mug for the cameras at the awards ceremony. The same rule applies for all players, even if you’re Tiger Woods and you win a third, fourth, and, now, fifth time (second only to Jack Nicklaus’ record six Masters victories).
That explains why Tiger had no trouble fitting into his jacket on Sunday evening (and perhaps why the loose, baggy cut of the jacket looked like it was straight out of the 90s).
But what if his playing partner and 54-hole leader Francesco Molinari hadn’t dunked his tee shot on the 12th hole, and instead had claimed the title? Would his brand-new green jacket fit so nicely?
The answer is yes, and that’s because Augusta officials estimate each contenders’ jacket measurements during the final round every year, so they are prepared with the right jacket no matter who wins. Furthermore, the jacket champions put on for the first time is only a temporary one. Augusta then creates a custom-fit green jacket for the winner to keep permanently.
From there, the champ gets to take his new coat home with him and wear it however often he wants, wherever he wants. But one year later, the fun ends. At the start of the following Masters tournament, the defending champion must return his green jacket to its hanger in the Champions Locker Room, never to pass beyond Augusta National’s gates again.
Unless, of course, he wins again.
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