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11 Dapper Facts About the Masters’ Green Jacket

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getty images

They may not be the height of fashion, but the green jacket Augusta National awards to the winner of the Masters tournament is one of sports’ most revered prizes. Here’s everything you need to know about the flashy garment. 

1. The green jackets weren’t always trophies. 

Augusta National opened in 1933, and in 1937, members started wearing green jackets. Founder Clifford Roberts hoped that the conspicuous jackets would help members stand out as “reliable sources of information” for visitors and signal who should get the check at dinner. 

2. Nobody wanted to wear those original green jackets. 

As the story goes, Roberts made a bulk order of heavy wool jackets from the Brooks Uniform Company of New York when he began the tradition. Members complained about the impractical choice for the warm Georgia spring, but all were too mindful of their manners to remove the stifling garment. 

3. Today’s jackets are cooler. 

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Practicality eventually prevailed on the temperature front. Modern jackets are a blend of tropical-weight wool and polyester. 

4. The jackets are created in Cincinnati. 

Cincinnati clothier the Hamilton Tailoring Company has been crafting the standard green jackets since 1967. While the assembly is done in Cincinnati, the components of a green jacket come from all over the country. The wool blend originates at Victor Forstmann Inc. in Dublin, Ga. The custom brass buttons are made by Connecticut’s Waterbury Button Co., and the iconic breast-pocket patch is the handiwork of North Carolina’s A&B Emblem Co. 

5. There’s also a more refined option.

While the Hamilton jacket is entrenched in golf lore, champions and Augusta National members can also upgrade their green jacket. Since 1996, tailor Henry Poole of London’s famed Savile Row has been working with Augusta National to create bespoke, made-to-measure green blazers. In 2013 Simon Cundey, a director of Henry Poole, explained to Golf International that these high-end options use a high end pure wool crafted in West Yorkshire rather than the blend used in the American-made jackets. 

6. Sam Snead was the first champion to get a jacket. 

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Although the Masters began in 1934, the tradition of giving the champion his own green jacket didn’t take off until 1949 when Sam Snead donned the first champion’s jacket. The club then awarded retroactive jackets to all past champions.

7. The jacket the champion slips on isn’t the one he keeps. 

The defending champion helping the newly crowned winner into his green jacket is one of the Masters’ most iconic scenes. The winner won’t be keeping that jacket, though. During Sunday’s final round Augusta National officials eyeball the top contenders’ sizes and gather similarly built members’ jackets that can be used in the ceremony. After the photo op, the member gets his jacket back, and the champion receives a custom jacket a few weeks later. 

8. The champ can wear the green jacket anywhere he wants, but only for one year. 

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Until the following year’s Masters, the defending champ can don the green jacket any time he leaves the house for an event or, in Phil Mickelson’s case, a Krispy Kreme run. After that year is over, he has to return the jacket to the club. It will be waiting for him each year when he returns for the Wednesday night Champions Dinner.

9. Gary Player ignored this rule. 

After Player won his first Masters in 1961, he took his green jacket home to South Africa. When he returned for the 1962 tournament, he forgot to bring the jacket with him. Once the club discovered this lapse, Clifford Roberts gave Player a call to ask him to return the jacket. 

Player has recalled the conversation with Roberts in interviews. “I said, ‘Well, you can come and fetch it.’” According to Player, Roberts saw the humor in the situation but implored him, “No, in all seriousness, please don’t ever wear it in public.” Player has since complied with the request. 

10. It took Jack Nicklaus a long time to get his own jacket. 

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After the Golden Bear claimed the first of his record six Masters titles in 1963, the ceremonial jacket that defending champ Arnold Palmer helped him into was comically oversized. Nicklaus later laughed, “It was like an overcoat. It just hung on me.” 

When Nicklaus returned to Augusta to defend his title in 1964, he was surprised to find that the club hadn’t slipped a properly sized blazer into his locker. Always a cool customer, the Golden Bear improvised by borrowing the jacket of Thomas Dewey, the former governor of New York, Augusta member, and presidential candidate who’s best remembered for not defeating Harry Truman in 1948. Even after Nicklaus won the Masters in 1965 and 1966, no jacket appeared. Dewey’s jacket fit Nicklaus, and the legend kept borrowing it for the annual Champions Dinner. 

By 1972, Nicklaus realized he needed to stop borrowing Dewey’s jacket. Rather than raise a fuss, he asked Hart, Schaffner, & Marx, with whom he had a clothing deal, to create a green jacket for him. It wasn’t quite the perfect copy. “It wasn’t even the same material or the right color,” Nicklaus remembered in 1999. After a couple of years in this fake jacket, he reverted to quietly borrowing green jackets from members. 

Finally, in 1997 Nicklaus mentioned to Augusta’s chairman, Jackson Stephens, that he had never received a green jacket of his own. Stephens was initially incredulous, but after hearing Nicklaus’s story, he told the six-time champ to go get fitted for a much-delayed trophy. By this point, Nicklaus enjoyed regaling friends with the story of how he didn’t own a jacket and didn’t want to shake things up, but when he turned up for the 1998 Masters, he finally had his own green jacket. 

11. They’re the holy grail of golf memorabilia. 

Augusta National is smart to keep the jackets on its grounds. Although the jackets are rumored to only cost around $250 to make, memorabilia collectors will pay big bucks for a chance to own golf’s most iconic offer. In 2013, relatives of Horton Smith, who won the tournament in 1934 and 1936, found his green jacket in a closet. They put the prized garment up for auction, where it fetched $682,229.45, a record price for golf memorabilia.

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General Mills
10 Winning Facts about Wheaties
General Mills
General Mills

Famous for its vivid orange boxes featuring star athletes and its classic "breakfast of champions" tagline, Wheaties might be the only cereal that's better known for its packaging than its taste. The whole wheat cereal has been around since the 1920s, becoming an icon not just of the breakfast aisle, but the sports and advertising worlds, too. Here are 10 winning facts about it.

1. IT WAS INVENTED BY ACCIDENT.

The Washburn Crosby Company wasn't initially in the cereal business. At the time, the Minnesota-based company—which became General Mills in 1928—primarily sold flour. But in 1921, the story goes, a dietitian in Minneapolis spilled bran gruel on a hot stove. The bran hardened into crispy, delicious flakes, and a new cereal was born. In 1924, the Washburn Crosby Company began selling a version of the flakes as a boxed cereal it called Washburn's Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flakes. A year later, after a company-wide contest, the company changed the name to Wheaties.

2. ITS JINGLE FEATURED A SINGING UNDERTAKER AND A COURT BAILIFF.

Wheaties sales were slow at first, but the Washburn Crosby Company already had a built-in advertising platform: It owned the Minneapolis radio station WCCO. Starting on December 24, 1926, the station began airing a jingle for the cereal sung by a barbershop quartet called the Wheaties Quartet. The foursome sang "Have You Tried Wheaties" live over the radio every week, earning $15 (about $200 today) per performance. In addition to their weekly singing gig, the men of the Wheaties Quartet all also had day jobs: One was an undertaker, one was a court bailiff, one worked in the grain industry, and one worked in printing. The ad campaign eventually went national, helping boost Wheaties sales across the country and becoming an advertising legend.

3. WHEATIES HAS BEEN TIED TO SPORTS SINCE ALMOST THE BEGINNING.

Carl Lewis signs a Wheaties box with his image on it for a young boy.
Track and field Olympic medalist Carl Lewis
Stephen Chernin, Getty Images

Wheaties has aligned itself with the sports world since its early days. In 1927, Wheaties bought ad space at Minneapolis's Nicollet Park, home to a minor league baseball team called the Millers, and in 1933, the cereal brand started sponsoring the team's game-day radio broadcasts on WCCO. Eventually, Wheaties baseball broadcasts expanded to 95 different radio stations, covering teams all over the country and further cementing its association with the sport. Since then, generations of endorsements from athletes of all stripes have helped sell consumers on the idea that eating Wheaties can make them strong and successful just like their favorite players. The branding association has been so successful that appearing on a Wheaties box has itself become a symbol of athletic achievement.

4. WHEATIES HELPED KICK-START RONALD REAGAN'S ACTING CAREER.

In the 1930s, a young sports broadcaster named Ronald Reagan was working at a radio station in Des Moines, Iowa, narrating Wheaties-sponsored Chicago Cubs and White Sox games. As part of this job, Reagan went to California to visit the Cubs' spring training camp in 1937. While he was there, he also did a screen test at Warner Bros. The studio ended up offering him a seven-year contract, and later that year, he appeared in his first starring role as a radio commentator in Love Is On The Air.

5. ATHLETES' PHOTOS DIDN'T ALWAYS APPEAR ON THE FRONT OF BOXES.

Three Wheaties boxes featuring Michael Phelps
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Although a Wheaties box wouldn't seem complete without an athlete's photo on it today, the cereal didn't always feature athletes front and center. In the early years, the boxes had photos of athletes like baseball legend Lou Gehrig (the first celebrity to be featured, in 1934) on the back or side panels of boxes. Athletes didn't start to appear on the front of the box until 1958, when the cereal featured Olympic pole vaulter Bob Richards.

6. THE FIRST WOMAN ON A WHEATIES BOX WAS A PILOT.

Former Track and Field Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersey stands with a poster of her new Wheaties box after it was unveiled in 2004.
Former Track and Field Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersey stands with a poster of her new Wheaties box after it was unveiled in 2004.
Stephen Chernin, Getty Images

Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton became the first woman to appear on the front of a Wheaties box in 1984, but women did appear elsewhere on the box in the brand's early years. The first was pioneering aviator and stunt pilot Elinor Smith. Smith, whose picture graced the back of the box in 1934, set numerous world aviation records for endurance and altitude in the 1920s and 1930s.

7. IT USED TO HAVE A MASCOT.

Though we now associate Wheaties with athletes rather than an animal mascot, the cereal did have the latter during the 1950s. In an attempt to appeal to children, Wheaties adopted a puppet lion named Champy (short for "Champion") as the brand's mascot. Champy and his puppet friends sang about the benefits of Wheaties in commercials that ran during The Mickey Mouse Club, and kids could order their own Champy hand puppets for 50 cents (less than $5 today) if they mailed in Wheaties box tops.

8. MICHAEL JORDAN IS THE WHEATIES KING.

Of all the athletes who have graced the cover of a Wheaties box, basketball superstar Michael Jordan takes the cake for most appearances. He's been featured on the box 18 times, both alone and with the Chicago Bulls. He also served as a spokesperson for the cereal, appearing in numerous Wheaties commercials in the '80s and '90s.

9. FANS ONCE GOT THE CHANCE TO PICK A WHEATIES STAR.

MMA star Anthony Pettis on the front of a Wheaties box.
Mike Mozart, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

The public hasn't often gotten a chance to weigh in on who will appear on the Wheaties box. But in 2014, Wheaties customers got to decide for the first time which athlete would be featured nationally. Called the Wheaties NEXT Challenge, the contest allowed people to vote for the next Wheaties Champion by logging their workouts on an app platform called MapMyFitness. Every workout of 30 minutes or more counted as one vote. Participants could choose between Paralympic sprinter Blake Leeper, motocross rider Ryan Dungey, mixed-martial-artist Anthony Pettis, lacrosse player Rob Pannell, or soccer player Christen Press. Pettis won, becoming the first MMA fighter to appear on the box in early 2015.

10. THERE WERE SEVERAL SPINOFFS THAT DIDN'T CATCH ON.

Three different Wheaties boxes featuring Tiger Woods sitting together on a table
Tiger Woods's Wheaties covers, 1998
Getty Images

Faced with declining sales, Wheaties introduced several spinoff cereals during the 1990s and early 2000s, including Honey Frosted Wheaties, Crispy Wheaties 'n Raisins, and Wheaties Energy Crunch. None of them sold very well, and they were all discontinued after a few years. The brand kept trying to expand its offerings, though. In 2009, General Mills introduced Wheaties Fuel, a version of the cereal it claimed was more tailored to men's dietary needs. Wheaties Fuel had more vitamin E and—unlike the original—no folic acid, which is commonly associated with women's prenatal supplements. Men didn't love Wheaties Fuel, though, and it was eventually discontinued too. Now, only the original "breakfast of champions" remains.

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TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX
The Sandlot Is Returning to Theaters for Its 25th Anniversary
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX

Few films from the 1990s have grown in stature over the years like The Sandlot. Though it gained respectable reviews and box office receipts when it was released in April 1993, the movie's standing in pop culture has since ballooned into cult classic territory, and you can still find merchandise and even clothing lines dedicated to it today.

Now you can revisit the adventures of Smalls, Ham, Squints, and The Beast on the big screen when Fathom Events and Twentieth Century Fox, in association with Island World, bring The Sandlot back to theaters for its 25th anniversary. The event will be held in 400 theaters across the U.S. on July 22 at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., and Tuesday, July 24 at 2:00 p.m and 7:00 p.m. (all times local).

Each screening will come complete with a preview of a new documentary detailing the making of the movie, so if you wanted to know even more about how this coming-of-age baseball classic came to be, now’s your chance.

For more information about ticket availability in your area, head to the Fathom Events website. And if you want to dive into some more trivia about the movie—including the fact that it was filmed in only 42 days—we’ve got you covered.

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