Of the four major golf tournaments, The Masters is undoubtedly the one with the most traditions starting with it being the only major played at the same venue. One of the most iconic traditions at The Masters is the caddies wearing white jumpsuits. This practice can be traced back to the very beginning of the tournament. Here’s a look at the history of Masters caddies donning the white jumpsuit and other interesting tidbits of information, including how numbers are assigned each year.
Masters caddies jumpsuits date back to 1930s
The Masters tournament first took place back in 1934. During those early years, Augusta National employed poor men from the local community to work as caddies with members.
Interestingly, according to various sources, the white jumpsuits and green caps were implemented to create a uniform look and make the caddies look smarter. For years, the white jumpsuit has been standard with the local caddies working the bags.
In 1983, however, Augusta National changed the rules. Professionals were no longer required to use local caddies and were allowed to bring in their own caddies. Despite that big change, the club remained steadfast on the attire caddies had to wear.
How are numbers determined for Masters caddies’ jumpsuits?
While the outfits have remained uniform throughout the years and include the white jumpsuit and green cap, there are always two variations on each jumpsuit. The first and most obvious is the name of the golfer, which is attached to the back of the outfit in green lettering.
On the front of each Masters caddie’s white jumpsuit is a number. The No. 1 is reserved each year for the caddie of the defending champion. This year, Tiger Woods’ caddie Joe LaCava will don that number.
While it would make sense if the remainder of the caddies’ numbers were based on the previous year’s finish or possibly their world ranking, it’s actually much simpler. The numbers are assigned based on the order in which the players check into registration for the week.
Winning caddie keeps the outfit
One of the most recognized Masters tournament traditions is the green jacket, which is awarded to the winner in the Butler Cabin at the conclusion of the event. The winning golfer is allowed to keep the green jacket for the entire year and must return it at the next tournament, after which it can only be worn at the club.
The same, however, is not true of the winning caddie and the white jumpsuit. The caddie gets to keep the jumpsuit forever. For Kessler Karain, Patrick Reed’s brother-in-law and caddie when Reed captured the 2018 green jacket, he said on ESPN’s “America’s Caddie” that he has broken his out on special occasions.
“This last April, when the Masters was supposed to be going on, I went out and played some golf with some friends, and I decided to don my cape, or the caddie jumpsuit as we’ll call it, and play a couple of holes in it. It was a good time,” Karain said
Karain and the rest of the caddies will be donning the familiar white jumpsuits this week in Augusta. And for the first time in the tournament’s history, they might be beneficial in helping keep them warm.