While only one Australian has ever claimed the famous Masters Green Jacket, the garment has ties to these shores that go much deeper than just our players teeing up at Augusta National each April.
One of the most recognisable clothing items in all of sport, allowed to be worn only by members of the host club, Augusta National, and winners of the Masters tournament, it turns out that much of the wool used in producing Green Jacket hails from Queensland.
Nobody except the reigning Masters champion is allowed to remove the jacket from the grounds of the club, the tournament winner having to return it the week they defend the title.
The history of the Green Jacket is long and well documented. It made its first appearance at the 1937 Masters (or the Augusta National Invitational as it was known at the time) as a way to allow visitors to identify club members.
It was first presented to the winner of the tournament in 1949 when Sam Snead claimed the title and the club then retrospectively awarded jackets to each of the 10 players who had divided up the 12 previous titles.
The jackets, cut from a fabric of predominantly wool, have been made by several tailors over the years but most since the 1960’s have come from the Hamilton Tailoring Company in Cincinnati, Ohio.
They use fabric purchased at the Victor Forstmann mill in Dublin, Georgia, which acquires the bulk of its wool supplies from – you guessed it – Australia.
Or more specifically, Queensland. When Adam Scott became the first Australian to win the famous jacket in 2013, the fact the garment was made from yarn sheared from Australian sheep was confirmed by Woolmark.
Hamilton Tailoring revealed in 2012 they had purchased a 500 yard roll of the Green Jacket Fabric in 1990 which led Woolmark General Manager of Product
Development and Commercialisation, Jimmy Jackson, to suggest it is certain almost every jacket since has been made predominantly with Queensland wool.
“The mill which supplied the fabric was Forstmann, which in the 1970s and 80s was one of the biggest wool weavers in the world,” Mr Jackson said.
“On top of this it was also one of the biggest importers of Australian wool in the late-80s to early-90s and one of our greatest partners, so it is fair to say that the green wool did in fact primarily come from Australian sheep.”
The 500 yard roll purchased in 1990 is enough to make 200 jackets though since 1996 club members and tournament winners have had the option to purchase an upgraded jacket made by Saville Row tailor Henry Poole.
Those blazers are made with wool shorn in England though not every winner or member elects to buy from the London company. Either way, if any of the Australian contingent can get across the line this week it will be a victory for Australia in more ways than one.