Although we once saw a man wearing a green blazer with some aplomb – sported with a blue Oxford cloth shirt and Argyle striped tie, gray flannels and penny loafers – it was on the body of a very old headmaster of a very old boys’ boarding school in rural Virginia. With a green blazer, context is everything. Our advice is: don’t try this at home.
The only green blazer we endorse whole-heartedly is the coveted ‘Green Jacket’ worn by the winner of The Masters at Augusta. It’s not every sporting event that asks you to get dressed up once you’ve won, and it’s to the credit of golfers the world over that no one especially laughs or pokes fun at the winner, who almost always looks a little bit foolish, sartorially speaking.
As we gear up for the Masters 2007 (the competitive rounds begin on Thursday, 5th April, so plan your sick days accordingly), it’s worth knowing something about the tournament’s most striking feature. The tradition of the green jacket is almost as old as the tournament itself, as we learn on the Masters’ official website:
The Augusta National member’s green coat began in 1937. Jackets were purchased from the Brooks Uniform Company, New York City, and members were urged to buy and wear a Jacket during the Masters Tournament so that patrons would be able to identify a reliable source of information. Members were not initially enthusiastic about wearing the warm, green coat. Within several years, a light-weight, made-to-order Jacket was available from the Club’s Golf Shop. In 1949 the first Green Jacket was awarded to that year’s Masters champion, Sam Snead. The single breasted, single vent Jacket’s color is “Masters Green” and is adorned with an Augusta National Golf Club logo on the left chest pocket. The logo also appears on the brass buttons.
Traditionally, the champion takes his Jacket home with him for one year, returning it to the Club when he returns for the Tournament. The Jacket is then stored at the Club and available whenever the champion visits. Near the conclusion of the Masters, several Jackets are selected which could fit the possible winner during the presentation ceremony. The winner will have his measurements taken at the Club’s Golf Shop or may provide measurements so that a custom made Green Jacket can be tailored. Typically, a multiple winner will have only one Green Jacket unless his size drastically changes. Golfers, of course, are known for getting away with murder in what they wear. In any other sport, pastel yellow-checked trousers with a baby blue shirt would raise an outcry, but in golf, it’s part of the charm. In fact, there are almost no rules at all in golfing apparel. While these days the top players tend to be a little more conservative than we’d like, weekend golfers the world over keep the tradition of dressing outrageously, not to say badly, alive and kicking.