Do Masters Champions Get to Keep the Green Jacket?

Each year after the conclusion of The Masters Tournament, the winner is presented with the club's famous "Green Jacket." But what happens after the presentation ceremony is over — does the golfer get to keep the jacket?

The Green Jacket first became the symbol of Augusta National Golf Club membership in 1937, when the club placed an order for all members (members had to pay for their jacket themselves, however). The famous coats weren't presented to Masters winners until 1949, though, when Sam Snead became the first Masters champ presented with a Green Jacket.

Since then, every year the tournament winner takes part in a presentation ceremony during which he slips into the Green Jacket. Actually, today there are two such ceremonies: the one inside the television broadcasters' studio inside Butler Cabin; then the larger celebration outside on the golf course.

What happens next? Does the Masters winner get to keep his Green Jacket? Yes — but only for a limited time away from Augusta National Golf Club.

Green Jackets — those given to Augusta National members and those presented to Masters champions — are required by the club to remain on the premises. Members and past champions essentially have visitation rights: Any time they are at the club, they retrieve their Green Jacket (they are all monogrammed) and wear it. When they leave the club, their jacket goes back into storage.

The new Masters champion each year, however, gets to take his Green Jacket home with him. When the winner returns the following year, he brings the jacket back to Augusta National and from that point the jacket remains on club grounds.

So each year's champion gets to take his Green Jacket home with him for one year; the jackets of everyone else remain on the club grounds at all times. That's the rule.

That rule has been breached a few times. Gary Player, famously, took his Green Jacket home with him and never returned it to the club. That was in 1962; the club lets him get away with it out of a sort of tradition (and because he's Gary Player). Billy Casper wanted to be buried in his Green Jacket. When he died in 2015, his wishes were communicated to Augusta National, which provided his family with Casper's jacket, and he was, in fact, buried in it.

A few Green Jackets have escaped Augusta National over the years and come up for auction. There is dispute, in some cases, over authenticity (whether the jackets in question were the ones kept at Augusta National, or whether they were replicas the golfers had made for their own keeping, which is common). Augusta National has successfully sued several times to stop the auctioning of Green Jackets.

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