The history of the grey jacket at Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament

The history of the grey jacket at Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament

A photo of Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods

When someone wins Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Ohio, they'll not only get a trophy and a boat load of money, they'll also shake hands with one of the greatest golfers ever to live.

Winners of the Memorial Tournament, which features one of the best fields on the PGA Tour schedule each year, shake hands with Jack Nicklaus immediately after winning. Each year at his tournament, Nicklaus shows up wearing a grey jacket through the week. However, there's no indication Memorial Tournament winners actually receive a grey jacket.

Pictures with Nicklaus after the trophy ceremony feature the winning player in their golf clothes and Nicklaus in his jacket. But there's no ceremony to confer a jacket on a player.

The tournament doesn't put the same emphasis on the jacket in the same way other PGA Tour events with jackets do. The membership of Muirfield Village and some tournament officials wear the jackets, which aren't only a grey pattern but rather have a bit of a pattern to them.

While the Masters has its green jacket, and the RBC Heritage and Colonial invitationals have their own styles of plaid jackets, the Memorial grey jacket isn't a prize unto itself. Maybe the milkshakes through the week and the huge first-place payout, as well a two-season PGA Tour exemption, are prize enough.

Tiger Woods has been fortunate enough to win the Memorial Tournament five times, the most in event history dating back to 1976. However, he doesn't have five jackets from Memorial. The jacket is a nice way to make a connection to the tournament, but the Memorial is particularly special because a player has won on Jack Nicklaus' masterpiece golf course with him watching down the stretch. This is a tradition similar to how Byron Nelson used to manage his championship when he was alive, and the same was true for Arnold Palmer at Bay Hill.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

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