Spieth: ‘In our sport you can’t have too many jackets’

Jordan Spieth, 2022 RBC Heritage, Harbour Town Golf Links,(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jordan Spieth, 2022 RBC Heritage, Harbour Town Golf Links,(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Jordan Spieth is the defending champ at the RBC Heritage Classic at Harbour Town Golf Links. One of the perks of winning is receiving a plaid jacket. But it’s not the only plaid one he’s been given, and, as you probably know, it’s not his most famous jacket.

Spieth actually has the triple crown of jackets, but not the super-whammy, more than a grand slam of U.S. jackets. He owns one for the RBC Heritage, one for winning the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial CC in Fort Worth, Texas, and, of course, one for winning the Masters.

He is missing the WM Phoenix Open blue blazer and, should he collect that one, he will have the full complement of currently available jackets on the PGA Tour.  As far as the other three tournaments, he is working on duplicates because he is of the opinion that he “can’t have too many.” That’s what he said in his pre-tournament press conference for the RBC Heritage.

Others may have more jackets than Spieth, but not the expansive assortment. Take Tiger Woods, for example. He has five green jackets, but not one from the RBC Heritage or the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial CC.  He does have the navy blazers from winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational, eight of them, but they are no longer awarded to the winner.

While Woods hit some of the most memorable shots ever at the WM Phoenix Open, he never actually won the tournament and so there are no photos of Woods with their trophy. His jacket count is 13 in all.

However, since it is RBC Heritage week, it’s time to think plaid. There are actually several golfers who have won multiple jackets of what is officially called Heritage tartan made for the RBC Heritage.

Stewart Cink has three, the latest of which was won in 2021 when he was 47 years old.  After his 50th birthday in late May, he can look to the PGA Tour Champions to see if they have any jackets for his closet.

In terms of jackets won at the RBC Heritage, Davis Love takes top billing.

Jack Nicklaus won the RBC Heritage in 1975, but he missed out on getting a plaid jacket. The plaid was not awarded until 1976. Before that year, winners received a bright yellow-gold jacket. If nothing else, it gave new meaning to Golden Bear.

The late Hubert Green received the very first plaid jacket in 1976 from what was then called the Sea Pines Heritage Classic. He repeated two years later, giving him closet plaid bookends.

Both Hale Irwin and Johnny Miller won the tournament two times prior to the change to plaid jackets, Irwin in 1971 and 1973 and Miller in 1972 and 1974. They doubled up on gold.

Irwin, however, won a third time, in 1994, and received the plaid with that victory. He is the only golfer who has won in both the gold jacket and plaid jacket eras.

The Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial CC also awards a plaid jacket, but that one is specially made, has 10 colors, and is different from the one awarded to winners of the RBC Heritage. However, to tell them apart, it would require a swatch from each and maybe a magnifying glass to compare weaves and count the colors. Both have a bright red background.

Interestingly, Colonial began awarding a jacket in its first year, which was 1946. At that time, it was a navy jacket. Ben Hogan won the first two of them. Then in 1952, the club decided to award a plaid jacket, more properly called a tartan.

So, Hogan won five jackets at Colonial, two navy blue and three plaid. The only others to win a blue coat there were Clayton Heafner, Sam Snead, and Cary Middlecoff. However, Hogan also won two green jackets for his Masters victories in 1951 and 1953.

Hogan also won the WM Phoenix twice, in 1947 and 1948, and while they currently award a jacket, the WM Phoenix Open did not immediately know when they first awarded it. It is being researched.  At least one media member who attended the tournament at least semi-regularly for a number of years did not know a jacket was part of the victory package.

But back to other tournament jackets. Snead and Middlecoff, in addition to the jackets for the Colonial, also have green jackets. Snead received the very first one presented to a Masters winner. That was in 1949. So, with regard to jacket collecting, that puts Hogan in a pretty special jacket category. He was, at least, a three-color, seven-jacket man.

In terms of jackets won at the RBC Heritage, Davis Love takes top billing with five. In a horrible twist of fate, his house caught on fire in 2020. In addition to all the other things that were destroyed, he lost the five jackets from the tournament.

This year, he was asked to be Honorary Chairman of the tournament.

“I asked the first thing, when he said would you be the honorary chairman, I said, ‘Yeah, can I get a jacket?” Love recalled.  The tournament delivered and also gave him a new trophy inscribed with all five years of winning the RBC Heritage.

RBC Heritage, Jordan Spieth, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Davis Love III
18 Apr 1998: Davis Love III in action during the MCI Heritage Classic at the Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, South Carolina. /

When asked by media if he wanted a jacket for each victory, Love said, “You don’t wear them that many times during the year, so one is enough.”

A better answer might have been, yes, I really wanted all five because I’m still working on getting two more so I have one for every day of the week.

Regardless, he now has a replacement for the jackets that became engulfed in flames. One of them had extra special meaning to him because it came with his first PGA Tour victory at what was then the MCI Heritage.

"“My first win with Lee Trevino’s caddie Herman Mitchell on the bag, playing in the last group with Hale Irwin, sitting in the scoring tent with him watching Steve Jones finish. I’ll always remember that.” “You always remember your first win, and that’s the most important one.”          — Davis Love"

Now, we can’t forget the first winner of the tournament at Hilton Head which was called the Heritage Classic that year. The champion was none other than Arnold Palmer, and the year was 1969. He would have received the yellow-gold jacket one for his victory.

Palmer collected tournament titles like they were kids’ baseball cards for a while.  Although he eventually became known for his cardigan sweaters, he also received a jacket for his victory at Colonial in 1962. If the WM Phoenix Open gave jackets in the 1960s, then he would have had three of those.

Palmer, of course, was victorious at the Masters four times, so that’s four green coats. His presence changed the trajectory of that tournament simply because of his popularity. Television liked him, and his charisma helped make the victories look special.

So, at minimum, in addition to all the other victories and awards, Palmer was a six-jacket man. Four green jackets from the Masters, one plaid jacket from Colonial, and one yellow-gold jacket at the Heritage Classic. If he got three from his victories in Phoenix, that would make nine jackets.

When it comes to sartorial splendor, we can’t forget Jack Nicklaus with six green jackets plus the yellow-gold jacket at the RBC Heritage in 1975, and the plaid jacket at the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial CC 1982. That makes a total of eight jackets for him.

If he got one for winning the WM Phoenix Open in 1964, he and Palmer would be tied in the jacket race. But of course, if Woods got credit for the jackets won at the Arnold Palmer, he’d be four ahead of them.

So Spieth was right when he said, in golf, there’s no such thing as too many jackets. He’s now working on winning his fourth one, this time a plaid.

RBC Heritage, Jordan Spieth, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Davis Love III
Adam Scott, 2013 Australian Masters, (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images) /

In addition to the jackets presented to winners in the US, there are plenty of international jackets acquired with a victory:

PGA Tour Fall Schedule Is Big Opportunity. dark. Next

1. Blue tartan jacket for the Dunlop Phoenix

2. The bright yellow-gold jacket for the Australian Masters

3.  Bright red jacket for the Omega European Masters

4. A gold silk jacket for Volvo China Open

5. A pink jacket for the winner of the Grand Slam of Golf, not currently being played, but Jim Furyk has one.