By Anthony Savonarota
When it comes to the American hosting, transnationally participative, and primarily male competing annual PGA Golf Tour quaternal flagship golf tournament series commencing firstly in April each year, the inaugural competition, known as The Masters Golf Tournament, is considered by golfers of all levels of expertise and years of experience-from fanatical players to casual participants-for being a wholly prestigious affair.
This aurora for The Masters Golf Tournament stems largely in part from the fact that unlike the other three subsequent championship tourneys, The Masters’ has been played continuously on one distinct setting since the sporting event was first conceptualized by professional golfers Cliff Roberts, and Bobby Jones, eighty three years ago in mid 1934; The Augusta National Golf Club.
The Augusta National Golf Club is a private golf club located within a town of the same name, and is of the southeastern US state Georgia. The Augusta Golf Club is known worldwide primarily for both propagating and strictly reinforcing a socially conservative atmosphere within the quadrants of the golf property, including a huge emphasis on not communicating what happens at the club to non members (which only adds to the intrigue), and having a very stringent membership process when it comes to granting access on the golf grounds. Membership can only be nominated by an existing member, and there is no application process. Furthermore, among their other rules that have been leaked to the public, any instance of running is constitutive of immediate dismissal from the property. More surprisingly, even whilst our current ‘information age’ technological era, all cell phones, laptops, and other portable electronic devices must be given to security personnel at the gate prior to entering the premises.
Every member of Augusta National receives a green sports coat with the club's logo on the left breast. The idea of the green jacket originated with club co-founder Clifford Roberts. Many believe it is because he wanted patrons visiting during the tournament to be able to readily identify members. The current Masters champion is the only owner of a green jacket permitted to remove it from the grounds of Augusta National, and only for a period of one year. Before this time limit was in place, the jacket of a few long-past Masters champions had been sold, after their deaths, to collectors. Consequently, the members of Augusta National have gone to great lengths to secure the remaining examples.
A sports journalist who has chosen to not disclose his name was very knowledgable about the history, and significance, of Augusta’s green membership jackets. That is why he was completely flabbergasted, and has concealed it ever since, when over twenty years ago in 1994, a brief trip to Toronto changed his life forever when he stumbled upon one of the jackets at a Toronto Goodwill Thrift Shop, and purchased the extravagant item for just five dollars.
Recently however, he decided he wanted to sell the jacket, and after collaborating with an American auctioneer by the name of Ryan Carey, the jacket has recently been sold for a whooping 139,000 US.
The Augusta Club, which verified its authenticity, began using the jackets in 1949. Tags on the jackets fashioned by Cullum’s tailoring in Augusta, Georgia, were used until 1957. That makes the 1950s-dated Thrift Store Green Jacket one of the first Masters blazers ever made. Because of this, news of the sale reaching the public has now sparked a multinational search for it’s original source; the unidentified owner.
It's still unclear how the jacket ended up in a Toronto thrift store. Only one Canadian has ever won the PGA Masters tournament, Mike Weir, in 2003, and it's unclear if there are any others north of the border who belong to the exclusive club. The jacket's name tag had been cut out when it was found at the Goodwill over twenty three years ago. All of the jackets of that era were tailor-made in Augusta at Cullum's men's shop, so Carey acknowledged that it's possible there could be a ledger, somewhere, that contains the exact measurement of the thrift store green jacket by which someone could identify its owner.