Wool in winner's circle at US Masters

30 April 2013

When golfer Adam Scott this year created history by becoming the first Australian to win the US Masters, he also put the coveted green jacket in the spotlight.

For three decades Cincinnati-based Hamilton Tailoring Co. has made the traditional jacket worn by US Masters winners. It uses wool fabric produced by an American mill in the Masters’ hometown of Georgia, with the woollen fleece coming from Australian sheep.

It was recently made public that according to the plant’s records, Hamilton Tailoring’s chairman Ed Heimann last purchased 450 metres of the rye green fabric in 1990. That’s enough woollen cloth to produce 200 jackets.

According to The Woolmark Company’s general manager of Product Development and Commercialisation, Jimmy Jackson, the fact that the fabric was bought in the 1990s and from this particular mill cements that Australian wool entered the winner’s circle long before an Australian sportsman.

“The mill which supplied the fabric was Forstmann, which in the 1970s and 80s was one of the biggest wool weavers in the world,” Mr Jackson said. “On top of this it was also one of the biggest importers of Australian wool in the late-80s to early-90s and one of our greatest partners, so it is fair to say that the green wool did in fact primarily come from Australian sheep.”

The jacket is made from a tropical-weight weave, presumably to cope with the Georgian heat during one of the world’s most prestigious golf tournaments. Originally for the Masters’ stewards to wear during play, the lightweight, high-twist yarn allows for increased breathability and airflow. According to Mr Jackson this cooler and drier handle is similar to a crepe yarn allowing the wearer to handle the humid air whilst on the green.

So while Adam Scott ended a 77-year hoodoo for Australians at the US Masters, let’s hope that Australian wool continues to sink holes in one every year in the future at Augusta National.