Who Was the First Masters Champion to Get the Green Jacket?

The Green Jacket is awarded every year to the winner of The Masters Tournament in one of the most well-known traditions in golf. But who was the first golfer to be awarded the Green Jacket after winning The Masters?

The answer to that question: Sam Snead. Following his victory in the 1949 Masters, one of Augusta National Golf Club's Green Jackets was slipped onto Snead during the trophy presentation. And that tradition has continued ever since. (It's actually done twice now: first, in the television studio inside Butler Cabin, which was first done in 1965; then, shortly after, in the trophy presentation outside.)

The Green Jackets themselves date to 1937, when Augusta National placed an order for members, who had to pay for theirs themselves. From 1937-48, only Augusta National members wore the jackets. But beginning in 1949, with winner Sam Snead, the Masters champion each year gets his own. (Related: Do Masters champs get to keep the Green Jacket?)

In the early years, immediately after the tradition began, the jacket was often called a "coat" by golfers and media alike. It took a while for "green jacket" to become the universally used term, and for that term to be well-understood by all golf fans to be referring to The Masters.

The Green Jacket presentation also wasn't something that drew a lot of media attention when the tradition was started in 1949. A quick (but not exhaustive) search of newspaper archives showed that almost none of the stories written about Snead's 1949 win even mentioned the jacket presentation.

In 1962, Snead, with writer Al Stump, wrote the book The Education of a Golfer (affiliate link). He makes no mention of The Masters' Green Jacket in the book.

But Snead's jacket gets mentioned a lot these days — as the answer to the question, who was the first golfer to get the Green Jacket for winning The Masters?

More Masters history:

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