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Why does the Masters winner get a green jacket?

We take a look back at the Masters tradition of the green jacket.

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The Masters - Preview Day 3 Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

When the Masters wraps up at Augusta National on Sunday evening, the winner will be outfitted in the iconic green jacket that serves as the symbol for the biggest honor in the sport of golf. But how did this tradition begin? Let’s take a look back at the history of the green jacket.

The Masters began in 1934, and the jackets were initially introduced in 1937 — not as a trophy, but as a sort of uniform for Augusta National members to wear to the Masters. It was not awarded to the winner for the first time until Sam Snead won in 1949. At that point, green jackets were retroactively awarded to previous Masters winners.

The jacket is now awarded in a post-tournament ceremony each year, placed on the winner’s shoulders by the reigning champion. Masters champions who win multiple times are not awarded with a new jacket with each win, but are dressed in the same jacket as their first win.

Winners are allowed to take the jacket home in the year following their win, but must return it to Augusta National Golf Club after that year, where it will sit waiting for the champions to don for the annual Champions Dinner and, perhaps, for another win. (There are, of course, exceptions — 1970 champion Billy Casper died in 2015 and was buried in his jacket. Gary Player reportedly still has his in South Africa.)

No golfer has won back-to-back Masters tournaments since Tiger Woods pulled off the feat in 2001 and 2002. Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo are the only other golfers to achieve two wins in two years.