The green jacket ceremony is one of the Masters’ most beloved traditions: The prior year’s champion sticks around for the weekend, regardless of whether or not he makes the cut, to present the next Masters champion with his green jacket.
It’s a situation that can be rife with awkwardness. Sometimes there is obvious stiffness or nervousness on the part of the participants, resulting in a missed handshake (see Bubba Watson, 2012), lingering tension from a back-nine implosion (see Jordan Spieth, 2016) or simply not knowing what to say once the jacket is on (see Patrick Reed and Tiger Woods, 2019). Subtle differences in height can also make it difficult to ensure a seamless slide over the arm and shoulder. But the green jacket ceremony is generally a feel-good affair, with the often euphoric new champion receiving a congratulatory handshake or hug from his predecessor once the jacket is on.
Former Masters champion Mark O’Meara recently recounted his own awkward green jacket encounter to GOLF.com.
After winning his first major championship at Augusta National in 1998, O’Meara had the honor of receiving the jacket from his then-close friend, Tiger Woods, who won the Masters in memorable fashion in 1997.
“I’ve got Tiger Woods — who is kind of like my little brother — putting the green jacket on me at 41 years of age,” O’Meara told GOLF.com. “Tiger’s a little bit taller than I am, and he had it up, and I couldn’t get my left arm into the jacket. And it was kind of an awkward situation, and finally, I turn around and looked at Tiger, and I’m like, ‘Hey, you gotta lower the jacket.’ And so he did, and I got my arms in there and he gave me a hug.”
O’Meara said when they cut to a commercial, he asked Tiger what that difficulty was all about.
“‘M.O.,’ [Woods] goes. ‘How would I know how to put a sport coat on anybody? I’ve never put a jacket on anybody!’” O’Meara said with a laugh. “So it was kind of an awkward, but a funny scene.”
With five jackets now in Woods’ closet, here’s hoping his technique has improved since ’97.
Turns out, O’Meara isn’t the only former Masters champion with a Tiger tale worth hearing. Check out the video above to hear Gary Player, Trevor Immelman, Larry Mize and Mike Weir detail their favorite memories with the Big Cat.
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