In addition to a nice check, the winner of the Masters golf tournament gets a traditional green jacket. How many years ago did this tradition start, and who was the first golfer to receive it?
— Murrey D., Medford
We here at the Since You Asked Pro Shop like to imagine a purer time in sporting history when golfers gave their best at Augusta for the love of the game — and maybe the vanity of a new sport coat.
Of course, we also like to imagine a future where the PGA allows mulligans.
But we digress.
It turns out that if you're looking for the last winner of the green jacket who didn't win money, well, there isn't one.
Although it's a far cry from 2014 winner Bubba Watson's $1.62 million prize, the 1934 winner of the first "Augusta National Invitational" tournament, Horton Smith, pocketed $1,500 of a $5,000 purse in a competition involving 60 professional and 12 amateur golfers.
Augusta National Golf Club renamed the tournament the Masters in 1939.
The first Green Jacket ceremony was for winner Sam Snead in 1949 after a three-stroke victory.
According to the Masters official site, at the onset of the tournament and until 1949, only Augusta National members wore the single-breasted, single-vent coat so tournament spectators could find reliable sources of information. The jacket ceremony was designed to symbolize the championship winner as an honorary member of the golf club.
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