Green Jacket Retired from Masters Tournament

Augusta National Golf Club issued a press release this morning describing the decision to no longer award the famed Green Jacket to the Masters Champion, starting with this year's tournament.  With the Masters a mere 6 days away, this announcement has already sent waves through numerous media outlets as golf fans, players, and historians begin to learn more about what can only be described as a radical decision to squash one of golf's highest trophy honors. Authored by Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne, the early-morning press release credits a changing economical climate, membership age base, and desire to implement a new tradition as reasons behind the decision to retire the Green Jacket:

"It has come to the attention of the Augusta Membership Board that a change has become long overdue for how the Masters Champion should be awarded in this year's tournament.  While golf will forever honor and remember the significance of the Green Jacket, we at Augusta National have made the very difficult decision to no longer include its presence in the award ceremony on Sunday.  As such, the Green Jacket will instead be predominately displayed within the Augusta National clubhouse as a way to remember those who have worn the trophy all these years."

Perhaps the most unusual aspect of this decision, however, is what Payne and Augusta National have chosen to replace the Green Jacket at the conclusion of the Masters, beginning in 2011.

"What is meant to be a new beginning in both tradition and golf history, Augusta National has decided to award the Masters Champion with only the Masters Trophy... in the form of a new, stylish hat.  While the trophy itself weighs more than your average baseball cap, beret, or fedora, our talented craftsmen at Augusta have created a specialized harness that will securely attach the Masters Trophy to the top of each Champion's head immediately following the conclusion of the tournament.  We feel that this motion will not only bring more attention to the oft-forgotten Masters Trophy, but will be much more fashionable than that old green blazer... which we can all agree matches with absolutely nothing."

Payne went on to explain that all past winners of the Masters will also be presented with replica Masters Trophy hats in a separate ceremony just prior to the Par 3 Challenge next week.