Green jacket nets $682K at auction

The green jacket owned by the first winner of the Masters, Horton Smith, was sold at auction Sunday for nearly $700,000.

The winning bidder was not identified by Green Jacket Auctions, which is based in Denville, N.J.

Smith's jacket, a 43 long, was believed to be lost, but last month the auction house received a call from a distant family member who lives near Atlanta. The jacket had been hanging in a closet for decades.

Smith won the first Masters, then known as the Augusta National Invitation Tournament, in 1934. He won it again in 1936. Augusta National Golf Club did not begin awarding green jackets to champions until 1949, starting with Sam Snead. But the club did give jackets to the nine Masters winners from 1934-48, including Smith.

According to Green Jacket Auctions, the $682,229.45 received for Smith's jacket was the highest price paid for a piece of golf memorabilia.

Smith is credited with 32 victories on the PGA Tour and played in every Masters that was played, a total of 27, from its inception through 1963, when he died at age 55. Smith was the last player to defeat Masters founder Bobby Jones in match play, doing so at the 1930 Savannah Open, the year Jones won the Grand Slam.

Smith was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1990.