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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 188
N Op tel: 03 9739 0110 Stay & Play T HERE are precious few garments in world sport that engender the kind of reverence that makes people stop and gawk. The Tour de France’s yellow leader’s jersey, perhaps? An Argentinian football shirt with the name “Messi” emblazoned on the back would certainly evoke strong emotions among people of that country. Thirteen years after he retired (again), a pair of Michael Jordan-branded Nike shoes or a number 23 singlet remain among the most sought after and instantly recognisable items in sports stores. But they’ll never come close to a Masters green jacket. A large part of that status is about exclusivity. You could walk into a shop tomorrow and kit yourself out in full Tour de France clobber or a Messi shirt, and a quick trawl on eBay (and deep pockets) will get you some playing kit that Jordan actually wore. What is almost impossible to buy, however, is one of Augusta’s legendary green blazers, reserved exclusively for the club’s members and its tournament champions. In fact, Augusta National went to court in 2013 to try to stop a golf memorabilia collector from selling 1959 Masters winner Art Wall Jr.’s jacket. Augusta argued that it actually owns the jackets, but allows the champion to wear it at the club in the year after their Masters victory. HUMBLE BEGINNINGS: THE tradition that has become one of sport’s greatest prizes actually has its roots in good old American practicality (and probably a bit of subtle bragging). Four years after the first tournament at Augusta in 1934, club members took to wearing green jackets as a means of distinguishing themselves from the crowd. They said it would help the public pick them out and approach them for information, though it’s hard not to believe the jackets were also a handy little status symbol. It wasn’t until 1949 that the club began awarding the Masters winner one of its jackets, with Sam Snead the first to receive the honour, and all previous winners were soon given backdated jackets. America’s oldest men’s clothing makers Brooks Brothers tailored the first green jackets for Augusta members, and the annual task is now undertaken by Cincinnati-based Hamilton Tailoring Co., which guards the secrets of its vital tournament role like they’re nuclear launch codes, though details such as the use of the colour Pantone 342 is well known.
GA Express 187
GA Express 189