Spending time with golf's most iconic 'trophy'

By Rex HoggardApril 7, 2014, 5:50 pm

AUGUSTA, Ga. – It is a historic twist of fate that the original green jackets, which were purchased from Brooks Uniform Co. in New York, were considered too heavy and quickly fell out of favor with the members at Augusta National.

By comparison, during Adam Scott’s victory tour across Australia last year the iconic green jacket represented the metaphorical release of 77 years of weight that had rested on an entire nation’s shoulders.

The claret jug may have more tales to tell and the U.S. Open trophy may stand as the most hard-fought award in golf, but the single breasted, single vent jacket awarded to each year’s Masters champion is a reward that defies hyperbole, and it seems even gravity.

Ever since Sam Snead became the first champion to slip into the green jacket after winning the 1949 Masters, the coveted jacket has emerged as a singular symbol of achievement in golf.

There’s not a cooler line in all of sports – Oh, this? It’s just something I picked up at Augusta National.

There is a reverence for the green jacket that has become a part of its lore.

“The way I am, having such respect for the facility and the tournament I was probably a little too low key with it. If I win again I will probably do a little more with it,” said Trevor Immelman, the 2008 champion. “Taking it out to places and showing them and giving people a bit more access to it.”

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Zach Johnson, who preceded Immelman to the Masters closet, was similarly guarded with where he took the jacket.

“I probably didn’t wear it enough. I got to wrap my baby up in it, which was cool,” Johnson said.

By comparison, Scott was downright effusive with his size 40 prize, and who could blame him considering Australia’s drought at the year’s first major championship.

Last fall, Scott returned to Australia for a four-event swing that turned into a green jacket tour through Down Under. At the Australian PGA officials held a “green day” for fans and competitors to honor Scott’s achievement and the defending champion even signed autographs while wearing the green jacket.

“Charl (Schwartzel, the 2011 champion) and Adam did a great job taking it around. It’s fantastic,” Immelman said. “I didn’t give people as much access as those two guys have because they have done it respectfully and it’s been very well received.”

Of course, the guidelines for when and where the green jacket can be worn have changed, particularly after Johnson’s victory in 2007.  Call it the “Zach rules” because following his Masters triumph officials became a little more hands on when it came to the jacket.

“I have no garment bag. I’m going to New York City at 6 a.m. (on Monday following his victory). I cover it up with a trash bag. I had nothing and I don’t really just want to, ‘Hey, this is my green jacket,’” Johnson said.

“I put it on in Times Square and I wore it with jeans. So, a no-no on the bag, a no-no on the jeans. When (Immelman) won the next year, he has this nice garment bag and I believe they give a brief description of what you should do and shouldn’t do.”

Champions are advised to only wear the green jacket at golf-oriented events, like charity outings, corporate events and at golf clubs.

“Wearing it to Chick-fil-A, that isn’t going to happen,” Johnson said.

Mostly, people just want to touch the jacket, or in rare instances put it on. “Whenever someone came over to the house they would be the one wear it, not me,” Immelman said.

“If there is a 40 reg in the house they want to put it on,” Johnson said. “Couple of guys snuck in there. They want to touch it, they want to feel it, they want to put it on.”

Champions are allowed to keep the jacket for a year and there is no return policy. A defending champion will normally wear the spoils one last time during Tuesday’s Champions Dinner and again when they put the green jacket on this year’s champion on Sunday afternoon in Butler Cabin.

That is, of course, unless he goes back-to-back, which was the option Scott was most keen on.

“I’ve really got this thing in my head that I’m quite determined to not leave it here. I really have enjoyed having it with me all the time,” Scott smiled on Sunday. “I probably haven’t taken advantage of wearing it out enough. Maybe (I was) too respectful. I think I am very determined to take it with me again next Sunday.”

Freed from the weight of the Aussie duck, which is what Australian’s called their winless streak at Augusta National, Scott seems plenty strong enough to shoulder the jacket for another 12 months.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.